Lewisham to welcome refugee children



Child refugees with relatives in Lewisham will be reunited with their families as a matter of urgency, according to the council.

Following the clearance of ‘The Jungle’ migrant camp in Calais by the French Government, council representatives are working with the Home Office to ensure no vulnerable child who has the right to live in Lewisham is displaced.

Lewisham Council have also said that they will provide foster homes for child migrants who are allocated to Lewisham through the government’s National Transfer Scheme, which they launched in the summer.

Under the National Transfer Scheme, a child arriving in an area struggling to cope with its current number of unaccompanied children can be transferred to a more suitable local authority.

Cabinet Member for Resources, Councillor Kevin Bonavia, said: “Most of us will have seen on TV the appalling conditions faced by children living on their own in the Calais ‘jungle’.

“With the French authorities due to close the Calais jungle in the next few days, I am glad that the Government is now taking urgent steps to meet its duty. We in Lewisham have informed the Government that we will provide whatever support we can for these vulnerable children,” he said.

Home secretary, Amber Rudd said: “We have made good progress to speed up the process for transferring children with a close family link to the UK.

“Working in partnership with the French, we have transferred almost 200 children. This includes more than 60 girls, many of whom had been identified as at high risk of sexual exploitation. They are receiving the care and support they need in the UK,” she said.

“Our priorities are to keep our border secure, to tackle the criminal gangs that profit from the lives of the vulnerable, and to ensure those in the camp in need of protection are moved to places of safety.

“We will be bringing more children from Calais to the UK in the coming days and weeks. As well as the remaining children with close family in the UK, we will continue to transfer unaccompanied refugee children from Calais.”

Croydon council have also recently announced that they have housed 14 child refugees from Calais, aged 14-17.

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