OPINION

We should welcome the vulnerable children arriving on our shores

Posted On 04 Sep 2020 at 12:05 am

Children have been in the news a lot recently.

Covid-19 has made me think hard about the importance of family, safety and health – and despite a difficult six months, I know that my family are among the lucky ones.

So, when I saw the pictures of people crowded into inflatable boats, many of them children, I started to imagine about what it must be like to be a child running away from persecution and war, alone.

I wondered what terrible sights they may have seen and thought: “What if that was my daughter or my nephew?”

Brighton is proud to be a City of Sanctuary – a place of refuge to any in need and which supports significant numbers of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children – those most vulnerable to being abused and exploited.

Brighton and Hove has already signed up for the voluntary National Transfer Scheme, committing to take 10 unaccompanied children from other local authorities each year.

This is in addition to our responsibilities to any child refugee who arrives here under their own steam.

Despite repeated requests, the Home Office has refused to make it mandatory for every local authority to accept a share of these children arriving and insists that the voluntary National Transfer Scheme is enough. This is not the case.

Kent County Council recently said that it no longer has capacity to care for any more child refugees, having taken care of 400 extra over the summer.

These children are now at risk of being placed under the care of the Border Force who are neither appropriately trained nor resourced to care for such vulnerable children.

Our Children’s Services have a highly skilled team with a wealth of specialist knowledge.

They have piloted a project to improve mental health assessments, already resulting in significant successes and enabling many young people to go on to fulfil their potential.

As a City of Sanctuary, we should continue to do everything we can to help some of the most vulnerable members of our society.

The Labour group have asked the council to make an urgent offer to accept additional unaccompanied children from Kent and to continue lobbying Home Secretary Priti Patel to provide additional funds to councils who voluntarily accept child migrants – and to make the scheme mandatory.

Councillor John Allcock is the deputy leader of the Labour opposition on Brighton and Hove City Council.

  1. Rolivan Reply

    I travel back and forth between France and England every 3 weeks and see lots of these “vulnerable children” who appear to me to be well fed and attired in modern clean clothing and most have mobile phones (which is interesting in itself).Why do they not want to stay in France which is three and a half times bigger?
    Please could you tell us why do you think they want to come here and why do you not give priority to those vulnerable that already inhabit the City?
    Brighton and Hove City Council cannot house those that have been raised in the City which number in the thousands.
    Your Party have been guilty of persecuting one race but want to open the gates to others,do you think that is right?

  2. Richard Williams Reply

    Well said. We at Sanctuary on Sea are proud of the welcome our city gives to young refugees. It is appalling that young people who arrive in Kent are being held by Border Force until a Local Authority volunteers to host them. The government needs to come up with a fair, humane and properly funded system.

    • Rolivan Reply

      Surely the Border Force are responsible for them until their identies are checked and found to be in order,otherwise we might have ‘young men’of 15 who are later found to be nearer 30.
      I have been travelling back and forth every 3 weeks and see sometimes hundreds near the port but cannot recall ever seeing a female please explain why you think that is?

  3. mike burns Reply

    have not seen too many children arriving. mostly 18 – 30 year old males, well dressed with the latest mobile phones. poor bastards

  4. Rolivan Reply

    A very interesting report with specific details in The Daily Mail today,perhaps Cllr Allcock should get Sir Kier Starmer involved through either Peter Kyle or the M.P for Kemp Town whose name I always seem to get the wrong way round?

  5. Aram Papikyan Reply

    Housing is a big problem in Brighton. We should launch a campaign to encourage locals to help house these vulnerable people in any spare rooms available.

    • Rolivan Reply

      Who is We?

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