A PROTEST against radical cuts to services supporting child asylum seekers has taken place outside the UK Border Agency’s offices in Solihull.
Members of Social Work Action Network (SWAN) supported by Unison, demonstrated in Dominion Court, Station Road after the UK Border Agency froze its grant to local authorities causing a massive overspend for Solihull council’s unaccompanied migrant children’s services.
Solihull council has responded in turn by cutting its own budget for these services to the tune of £1.2 million.
The bodies claim Solihull is planning to move child asylum seekers aged 16 and above from foster care into independent accommodation, and reduce staffing levels.
The authority is bidding to get half of 16-year-olds to leave foster families for cheaper ‘supported accommodation’.
The council is responsible for about 150 children aged 17 and under from countries including Afghanistan and The Democratic Republic of the Congo.
A Solihull Council spokesperson said: “We have been made aware of the protest and at this stage it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
The Social Work Action Network is calling for the grant to be restored and for the full costs of aftercare for child asylum seekers to be met by the UK Border Agency.