Unaccompanied refugee children

Following the Government's recent change in position on whether England will receive unaccompanied Syrian refugee children, John Pollard, Leader of Cornwall Council has issued the following statement regarding Cornwall Council’s position on unaccompanied child refugees:

On 4 May the Government agreed to resettle unaccompanied child refugees who are currently in Europe to the UK. The Minister for Immigration has confirmed that the Government will consult with local authorities in due course before specifying the number of children it will seek to resettle from within Europe.

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Cornwall has already supported children, within the families resettled in Cornwall, through the existing Syrian Refugee Resettlement Scheme. We are committed to providing support to unaccompanied child refugees and are already talking to foster carers and supported lodgings providers to make sure we are ready if/when we are asked to provide help.

It is important that the views and wishes of the children and young people are taken into account when identifying local authority areas for them to live. Many already have family and friends in the UK and would prefer to be near them or to communities that share their language, heritage and culture; However, Cornwall has a good track record of making people from different backgrounds welcome and this is no different.

Cornwall hopes that the Government takes into account the resources available to local authorities to care for the children; we will need a little time to match these children carefully to skilled foster carers who are proficient in caring for children who have experienced trauma, separation and loss.

We welcome the expressions of interest from the public in providing foster placements and would ask them to get in touch with our foster carer recruitment team. It is important to note that a fostering assessment can take 4-6 months. Please contact the team by email: fostering@cornwall.gov.uk or phone: 01872 323638.

Posted 18 May 2016