Social services chiefs have warned an unprecedented surge in the number of young asylum seekers is creating a “ticking time bomb” for the county council. The surge shows no sign of letting up, with 77 arriving in Kent last week.
Kent County Council says it can no longer place new asylum seeker children anywhere in the county and they are being taken to other authorities as soon as they reach the UK. There are now 872 unaccompanied young asylum seekers being looked after by Kent, either in reception centres or with foster families, or with other authorities. Last month, the figure was 750 and a year ago just 200.
Cllr Peter Oakford (Con) cabinet member for social care, told a cabinet meeting on Monday
“We are now entering a time of the year when the number of arrivals would start to decline. We are now experiencing more arrivals than we would normally expect.”
He said most were aged between 16 and 17, meaning that once they turned 18, they would continue to be KCC’s responsibility as adults in need of additional care – without those costs being met fully by the government.
“We are sitting on a ticking time bomb because the £7m costs will rise substantially. We are going to have to consider some serious courses of action. We are literally taking them [new arrivals] from the port and placing them out of the county because we do not have any facilities.”
Cross-post from Kent Online.by