Kent

Kent child migrant centres 'breaking at the seams'

Child in Dover Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The number of children crossing the Channel in dinghies is rising, Kent County Council says

A council which is "breaking at the seams" due the number of migrant children crossing the English Channel has welcomed a funding boost.

Kent County Council was caring for 450 unaccompanied child migrants in April, compared with 257 in April 2019.

The Home Office has announced an increase in funding for young migrants.

Kent County Council's deputy leader, Peter Oakford said arrivals at the authority's four reception centres were being forced to share rooms.

Mr Oakford said: "We currently have four reception centres and with the quarantine laws that have been put into place at the moment we are breaking at the seams and don't quite know what to do next," the Local Democracy Reporting Service. reported.

Last month Roger Gough, KCC's leader appealed to Home Secretary Priti Patel to "prevent a crisis escalating into something unmanageable and unsafe", saying the rising number of child migrants crossing the Channel by boat risked overwhelming social services,

Child migrants arriving in Kent

Number of lone children arriving each month since 2019

Figures represent unaccompanied asylum-seeking children aged under-18.
Source: Kent County Council

On Monday the Home Office announced; "There will be a significant uplift in funding for all local authorities providing ongoing support to those unaccompanied asylum seeking children leaving care. The new rate (£240 per person per week) replaces the previous rates of £150 and £200 per week, representing a 20-60% increase.

"There will also be a targeted 25% uplift in funding for local authorities across the UK who are currently looking after the highest numbers of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children when compared to their child population. They will receive a tariff of £143 per child per night instead of the standard rate of £114 per child per night."

'Under pressure'

Mr Gough told the BBC: "We believe it's about £5m coming to the county council this financial year."

"If we continue to see the continued rapid increase in the number of arrivals we've seen of late we are still going to be potentially under pressure", he added.

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