Lone child asylum seeker arrives in Coventry every three weeks

A NEW child arrives to seek asylum in Coventry on average more than once a month.
Figures released to the Telegraph from Coventry City Council’s fostering service show that over the last 12 months, a total of 14 unaccompanied asylum seeking children and young people came to the city after fleeing their home countries.
The number is nearly double that of the previous year when eight lone asylum seekers aged under 16 arrived in the city.

It adds to growing pressures on the council’s fostering and adoption service which says it is already having to place rising numbers of children in independent foster care due to a lack of council foster carers.
They say that’s not ideal because it sometimes means children having to be moved out of the city and suffer disruption to their education and friendships.
There are currently 600 children in care in Coventry, 15 more than the previous year.
Of those 360 are in foster care, with 52 per cent cared for by independent foster carers who work through agencies that are run by charities or private companies who vet and pay them.
The agencies recruit independently of local authorities, although they provide foster placements for councils if there are no available spaces for children.
The council to pay agencies for any placements they take on.
Now the city council is been running a recruitment campaign called Coventry Carers For Coventry Children as part of national Foster Care Fortnight, which ends on Sunday, in a bid to increase the number of local foster families.
Ultimately, they want to recruit at least 80 local foster families from a range of backgrounds in the next three years.
Shanti Eaves, head of the council’s Looked After Children service, says the recruitment is ‘vital’ to improving foster children’s outcomes.
She said: “The number of children coming into the care system is continuing to rise.
“As part of our fundamental service review we are looking at ways of safely reducing this number.
“We are investing in early intervention and prevention schemes to support families and want to speed up the adoption process which will mean that children leave the care system more quickly.
“Coventry Carers for Coventry Children is part of a wider strategy to improve the quality of service and outcomes for looked after children.
“We know that increasing the number of local foster carers reduces disruption to the children’s lives because they remain close to family, friends and school.
“This in turn improves the children’s stability and helps them to do better at school and in life.
“By next Foster Care Fortnight I hope that we will see the beginnings of a downward trend in the number of looked after children and more of the children in foster care with Coventry foster carers.”
Coun Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “More than half of the Coventry children currently in foster care are living with independent foster carers.
“I am determined to buck this trend and want to have the vast majority of our looked after children cared for by Coventry City Council foster carers.
“It’s an ambitious goal and to achieve it we need to recruit enough new foster carers to provide homes for at least 80 children and young people over the next three years.
“Many of the children we look after are part of a sibling group, so we need people who have the space and time to support more than one child in their home.
“The council is also working hard to support our existing foster carers who are doing an incredible job for the city’s youngsters.
“Young people have told me what a difference fostering has made to their lives. That’s why it is so important that people get in touch to find out about fostering.”
For more information about fostering visit www.coventry.gov.uk/fostering or call 024 7683 187.

Lynne Mansbridge provides home for five children in 18 months of fostering
IN JUST 18 months of fostering, Lynne Mansbridge has already welcomed five children into her four-bedroom home.
One is a 15-year-old unaccompanied asylum seeker who moved into her house in Willenhall two weeks ago.
He joined fellow foster children, a brother and a sister, who are also in Lynne’s care.


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