Last week on Monday, a Shadow Minister of the Labour Party, Matthew Pennycook who is also the MP for Greenwich and Woolwich asked a question about Asylum Children. The answer was responded by Robert Jenrick, who is the the Minister for Immigration and the MP for Newark. The answer was very disturbing and given that the question includes Sussex there are many reasons for us to be concerned. Here are the question and answer.
Matthew Pennycock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylum-seeking children who had recently arrived in the UK without parents or carers were missing from Home Office accommodation in (a) Sussex, (b) London and (c) England as of 13 February 2023.
Robert Jenrick: There are no plans to routinely release data pertaining to missing unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) at this time.
As of the 22nd February, 196 UASC were missing. When a young person goes missing the ‘missing persons protocol’ is followed and led by our directly engaged social workers.
The MARS (Missing After Reasonable Steps) protocol is followed for any looked after child who goes missing from a care setting, including the UASC hotels. When used correctly, similar protocols within police forces have safely reduced the number of missing episodes from placements by 36%.