Argyll has room for five more child asylum seekers

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Up to seven unaccompanied asylum-seeking children could be accommodated at Argyll and Bute, a council committee has said.

A report updated Advisers on the Situation of These Young People (UASC), whose numbers reaching the UK continue to rise.

Officers from the region’s health and social care council and partnership worked to develop plans to provide appropriate care.

The UK government made it compulsory, rather than voluntary, for UK local authorities to participate in its national UASC transfer program last month.

However, the council formally responded by expressing concerns about the timing and readiness of implementing the plans, with the report expressing hope for a “degree of reasonableness.”

Social Work Director David Gibson briefed the Council’s Policy and Resources Committee on the seven figure during its virtual meeting on Thursday, December 9.

The head of the council, Liberal Democrat Kintyre and Isles Councilor Robin Currie, said: “We have always intended to bring two children to Argyll and Bute.

“There has been a lot of work done by officers and COSLA (Scottish Local Authorities Convention) on this topic and I hope we get a good result.”

Mr Gibson replied: “Our capacity, as far as the Home Office goes, is not one or two – it’s seven young people between the ages of 16 and 18.

“Two are the basis of what we are currently working on. If over the next few weeks we have to take seven, that will create a much bigger problem and we will come back with reports to the board.

Mid Argyll Independent Advisor Douglas Philand also raised the issue of the mental health of all UASCs arriving in the area.

Mr Gibson replied, “We have no doubt that these young people have the potential to come with trauma. Some may be from war zones, some may not.

“But we would expect a degree and discuss it with some of our mental health colleagues. The funding we have is used to pay for their housing and some schooling.

“The numbers won’t flood us, but we’re going to sit down like we would any kid and work on a plan.

“We will have interpreters on the ground to help us understand what the young people are trying to tell us.”


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