Councils will have to take share of unaccompanied children if they fail to volunteer, warns minister

Vicky Ford issues warning as she announces funding for councils accommodating asylum-seeking children as part of £24m programme

The government has warned local authorities it will mandate them to take on unaccompanied asylum-seeking children if not enough volunteer to look after them in a new rota scheme.

Following renewed concerns from port authorities about the pressures resulting from the high numbers of children they were caring for, the Home Office announced changes last month to distribute responsibility for them more widely using the rota system. However, it rejected making the existing national transfer system (NTS) mandatory, despite threats of legal action from Kent council – which has already ceased taking in new unaccompanied children – should it not do so.

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