Fife to take more child asylum seekers and give them a new life

More young refugees coming into the UK without their parents could be housed and supported in Fife after the council agreed to volunteer its services to the Home Office.

Fife Council will write to umbrella body Cosla to extend an offer of extra support after it volunteered to take in four children aged between 10 and 12 who had been displaced from their home countries in summer last year.

The Home Office operates an "asylum seeker dispersal scheme" to distribute refugees across the UK as and when they arrive in the country while permanent accommodation is found.

Care costs can run into the thousands or even millions of pounds, but the Home Office has offered "enhanced" financial assistance to councils that are willing to take in unaccompanied children.

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A sign at the entrance to Penally Training Camp on March 20, 2021 in Penally, Wales. Penally Army Training camp, a military base just outside Tenby in Pembrokeshire, was used to house up to 250 asylum seekers from September last year. p (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

Kathy Henwood, head of children's services, said: "There's a lot of work undertaken with these individual children and anyone sisters or brothers come with to look at what prompted them to undertake an incredibly dangerous trip in a small boat across the Channel.

"There are lots of assumptions we might make around that, but what we do know is that these young people absolutely have horrific back stories and very much welcome any support we can offer them.

"What we've been able to do is support them in a meaningful way and enable them to live lives that they would have wished for rather than what might have been facing them in their country of origin or through their journey to get to us."

Councillors agreed to allow Fife to expand its offering for unaccompanied young asylum seekers.

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