To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many unaccompanied asylum seeking children are being housed in unregulated care homes.
The latest figures relate to the 31 March 2019. The department holds information for England, but information for Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland is a matter for the devolved administrations.
There were 5,070 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children looked after by local authorities in England, of which 101 were looked after by Portsmouth local authority. 990 of the unaccompanied asylum-seeking children looked after by local authorities in England were placed in semi-independent living accommodation, a further 1,460 were living independently.
24 children (aged under 18 years) were looked after by Portsmouth local authority and were accommodated in semi-independent living accommodation, a further 37 were living independently.
Information on the numbers of children looked after in England, including information on the numbers who are unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and placements, is available in the annual statistical release ‘Children looked after in England (including adoption) which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2018-to-2019.
While most children in care are placed in children’s homes or foster care, independent and semi-independent settings can be the right choice for some older children, acting as a stepping stone towards independence and adult life. Given that the majority of unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) are aged 16 and over, UASC are more likely to benefit from high quality placements in these settings than the wider cohort of looked-after-children. We have launched a consultation on new measures to improve the quality of this provision, including introducing new national standards.