54% rise in unaccompanied asylum-seeking children being looked after in England


The number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children being looked after in England has jumped by more than half in the space of a year.

A total of 4,210 children claiming asylum in the UK were reported as being in the care of local authorities as of March 31 2016.

This was up 54% on the previous year, according to new figures from the Department for Education (DfE).

It is also the highest total since current records began in 2004.

Roughly nine in 10 of the children were male, while three in four were aged 16 or over.

The highest numbers were reported in areas where there are routes into the UK.

Some two-thirds of all unaccompanied asylum-seeking children were located in London and the South East, while a further 11% were in the East of England.

A total of 865 children, roughly one in five of the total, were in Kent - the largest number for any local authority.

Croydon (430), Surrey (150) and Northamptonshire (140) reported the next highest figures.

The DfE said the rise in asylum-seeking children coming to the UK was the main factor behind an overall increase in the number of children starting to be looked after.

There were 70,440 looked-after children in England as of March 31 2016 - a jump of 1% compared with March 31 2015 and 5% compared with 2012.