Devon’s doing its bit in Government resettlement programmes

Posted on: 7 October 2016

Devon is doing its bit to help resettle Syrian families and unaccompanied children seeking asylum, according to a report to Devon County Councillors this week.

The Council has a coordinating role in a partnership of local authorities, including Devon’s City and District Councils, Police, the NHS, and voluntary and community sector partners, in responding to the Government’s Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programme.

The Government-funded programme aims to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees in the UK by 2020.

Devon’s District Councils, which are responsible for housing, have pledged to accommodate at least 74 families, and the first few families have already arrived and are now resettled.

The partnership is helping families to settle in and lead independent, safe and productive lives.
Families are housed in private rented properties that landlords have offered or agreed to rent to refugee families, so there’s no impact on people awaiting council housing.

Landlords with property available can get in touch via the website.

Under a different scheme, Devon County Council also aims to look after a number of unaccompanied asylum seeking children by the end of March 2017 as part of a national scheme.

Most of the young people are male teenagers, aged 15 to 17 years old, and from a range of countries across the Middle East and East Africa.

The Council is working with existing and potential foster carers, as well as specialist organisations that have relevant experience and capacity to help.

It’s asking existing foster carers who think that they can offer an unaccompanied child a home to contact the Council’s Fostering enquiry line on 0345 155 1077, or email foster@devon.gov.uk

Anyone interested in becoming an approved foster carer can find out more about the process on the Fostering Devon website before getting in touch with the team.

The Council also wants to increase the number of host families in its Devon Young People’s Accommodation Service (DYPAS), which provides safe environments for vulnerable young people aged 16 plus, helping them to develop independent living skills as they move into adulthood.

And it’s strengthening the knowledge and skills of its own staff in specific areas of expertise relevant to unaccompanied children, such as age assessment and understanding of asylum processes.

councillor-john-hartThe Leader of Devon County Council, Cllr John Hart, said:

“Devon is doing its bit to support Syrian families and young unaccompanied people seeking asylum. Working alongside our partners, we are able and keen to help give people new starts and new opportunities for better lives, free of fear or persecution. It is important that we do our very best to provide the support so very much needed at this time.”

Councillor Alan Connett, Leader of the Council’s Liberal Democrat Group, said:

“It hard to imagine the horrors of war on your doorstep and the fear it must strike, let alone the pain of loss and being separated from family.

“I am pleased that Devon is helping and that the county council will support 25 asylum seeking children.”

Cllr Frank BiedermanCouncillor Frank Biederman, Leader of the Council’s Independent Group, said:

“I am delighted Councils in Devon has got systems in place to help Syrian families and urge people interested in fostering the Syrian or the children in our own care system to get hold of the council.”

cllr-richard-westlakeCouncillor Richard Westlake, Leader of the Council’s Labour group, said:

“I fully support the County council and District councils working together to coordinate a planned response to the refuge crisis for Syrian refuges and unaccompanied children.  Urgent action needs to be taken to safeguard vulnerable children who have fled from the war in Syria.”

4 comments on “Devon’s doing its bit in Government resettlement programmes

  1. Pauline Hastings says:

    Well done Devon. When can some children come? Are you having a big recruitment drive for foster carers? Might some older teenagers live together in a professionally-staffed unit? I’ve spent a long time in Calais, support asylum seekers in Exeter,and as an Educational Psychologist, I offer my support.

  2. Nicola Renovich says:

    25 children by March 2017 in the UK. 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020. 74 families in Devon already pledged. When do they arrive? There are foster caters available so please let at least the 25 children and 74 families in in the next week. The jungle is about to be destroyed. Unaccompanied children will be frightened off by bulldozers and lost without homes or protection from child traffickers. Please act quickly, today. We have a united responsibility to welcome refugees into our country and culture. It’s an opportunity for rich cultural exchange.
    The children in Calais are cold and tired of waiting so they risk their lives trying to come here. Boys as young as 10 and 11 so tired that they fall asleep by the side of the mitt way trying. 4 have already died this year. I cannot bear to imagine how I would feel if this was my child and I was waiting for him with accepted paperwork in the uk unable to just buy him a train ticket over. Thankyou for acting now.
    Nicola Renovich

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