Last week the Government updated its instructions to local authorities (LAs) about funding the support and care of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) coming into the UK.
The funding instructions set out the conditions under which LAs may claim reimbursement of costs for supporting and caring for these children, for the financial year 2014 to 2015.
According to the guidance, a UASC is an individual under the age of 18 who has applied for asylum in his or her own right, is separated from both parents and is not being cared for by an adult who has responsibility to do so, whether by law or custom.
Any child who satisfies these criteria may be included in an application for reimbursement of support costs, unless they arrived in the country under an adult’s care, or arrived alone but have subsequently been living with an adult, or have the nationality of an European Economic Area (EEA) State, including if they have been granted British Citizenship.
LAs can claim £95 a day for eligible UASCs under the age of 16 and £71 per day for those aged between 16 and 17 and must do so on a monthly basis no later than the 15th of the month following the month to which the application relates.
However, if an LA’s actual expenditure for all the UASCs it supports is less than a sum calculated by applying the standards rates, then payment will be capped at the level of actual expenditure.
The Home Office will automatically cease payments for the UASC the day before he or she turns 18 or if they are missing from care for more than 28 consecutive days or if they are placed in a Young Offenders’ Institute.