Asylum children living in hotels ‘unacceptable’ – Ofsted

20th October, 2021 12:22 pm

The housing of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in hotels has been described as “unacceptable” by Ofsted.

The Home Office has placed children at hotels, including in Hythe and Hove, while they await permanent placement.

Ofsted said it recognised authorities faced challenges finding suitable accommodation but it was “concerned” by the use of hotels.

Children only remain in hotels “for as long as necessary” and are cared for and supported, the Home Office said.

Ministers came under pressure when Kent County Council (KCC) said in June it would not take any further asylum children as its services were overwhelmed. KCC resumed taking minors last month.

The government had said it would end housing unaccompanied under-16s in hotels by early September. It later emerged that 16 under-16s were still living in hotels on 16 September.

‘This is unacceptable’

An Ofsted spokesperson said: “Local authorities face a number of challenges in finding these incredibly vulnerable children a safe and suitable place to live.

“While efforts are being made to keep children safe, we are concerned to hear that some children are still living in hotels – this is unacceptable.

“Unfortunately, the national transfer scheme – which distributes children across local authorities to receive support – is not mandatory, and current funding arrangements for unaccompanied asylum seeking children do not fully reflect their needs.”

There are no up-to-date figures on the number of unaccompanied children being housed in hotels, but the government said at least 287 have been moved since 16 July. The average stay was nine days.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We take the welfare of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children extremely seriously and are committed to ensuring our accommodation is safe and secure and follows the latest guidance from Public Health England.

“Support is in place for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children to ensure they are cared for effectively during any stay in hotel accommodation, and they only remain in hotel accommodation for as long as necessary to secure them a permanent placement with a local authority.”

Source: BBC

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