POWYS County Council is looking after 28 young refugees, a report has revealed.
At a meeting of the council’s Health and Care scrutiny committee meeting on Friday, November 3, councillors received a report on Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC).
While the report was published and is in the public domain the committee voted to discuss it in confidential session.
The report shows that currently, the council is supporting 28 youngsters.
Of these, 13 are from Afghanistan, five from Sudan, three from both Eritrea and Syria and the other four come from Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, and Turkey.
The report also shows that the majority of these children are actually in care outside of Powys with 19 at placements in England.
The youngsters are under the council’s wing as part of the UK Government’s National Transfer Scheme (NTS) which expects all local authorities to “play their part” and accept transfers of children into their care.
The report said: “Powys Childrens Services received its first referral on March 4, 2022.
“To date the local authority has received 28 UASC into its care.”
The report shows that of the 28 youngsters, 14 are in college, seven are in school, six are classified as NEET (not in education, employment, or training) and one is in work.
The report said: “The young people received into Powys are largely between the ages of 15 to 17 years resulting in a relatively short period in care before receiving leaving care services.
“We have started to see an increase in younger children being referred through the scheme.”
“Many of the young people wish to reside in more urban and culturally diverse areas.
“The social work teams are currently travelling large distances to support young people residing in London, Manchester, Liverpool and South Wales.”
Currently the council receives £143 per night per child, when the young person turns 18 years the payment goes up to £270 per week.
But the report explains that this fee does not cover everything Powys spends on placements including “translation fees.”
Due to the high cost of placements the council is exploring options for more youngsters to be accommodated in Powys.
The report said: “The average cost of a private supported accommodation provision for 16-18 year olds in London/Manchester/Liverpool is £1310 per week, inclusive of accommodation and support.”
“Some children may require therapeutic support outside of the remit of the Child and Adult Mental Health Service that necessitate a therapeutic space to process trauma and bereavement.”
The cost for this type of provision is £5,500 a week.
The report also mentions the possibility of Powys taking up to 18 more youngsters and the resources needed to cover this would need just under £200,000 extra a year.
Committee chairwoman Conservative Cllr Amanda Jenner asked council officers to explain why the item should be discussed in confidential session.
Strategic children’s programme manager, Joanna Harris said: “The UASC referrals that we have received relate to a small group of children – the presentation that we’ll give will look at some of their personal details and for that reason we ask for this session to be part of the confidential session.”
The committee agreed to this.