More than 50% of children in care who are EU nationals yet to register for EUSS
With applications to the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS) closing in June 2021, the Children’s Society has carried out research which has found that over 50% of the identified EU/EEA and Swiss looked after children and care leavers have yet to submit an EUSS application.
Figures provided by The Children’s Society estimate this to be over 2000 applications outstanding.
There is a risk that many children and young people across the UK will find themselves to have no legal status in the UK as of 1st July. This means that they may find themselves, through no fault of their own, immediately being cut off from essential services and support. The loss of a right to work, to rent, to hold a bank account or a driving license. Any period of unlawful residence will have serious impacts on any future application for citizenship and if a young person has ambitions to attend university, impact their eligibility for student finance. They could also face deportation from the UK. Even a child who applies late will have a period of unlawful status in the UK – from 1st July 2021 until such time as they have affirmatively secured status.
The Children’s Society submitted freedom of information requests to 210 local government bodies in the UK with responsibility for children’s services, and found 3690 looked after children and care leavers identified by 175 local authorities in the UK – which they confidently say is an underestimate.
Children who are in care – including those from the EU – will have a social worker, which puts social workers in a key position to ensure the children that they work with have taken all the available steps to secure their status before 30th June. As The Children’s Society rightly points out, local authorities are uniquely placed to support children and families who are within the care system as well as care leavers, many of whom will need proactive and technical support to be able to make an application to the EUSS.
The Children’s Society has identified critical next steps for local authorities and health and social care trusts which are:
1) Continue identifying eligible looked after children and care leavers
Local authorities must be proactive as most children and young people will not be aware of their need to apply
2) Make applications expeditiously
The deadline is fast approaching which means that local authorities must commit the resources and time to ensure EUSS applications are made in good time
Track the progress and receipt of the applications to ensure that they are completed, submitted, and status is secured. Cases of children who are in care can often be complex, so the sooner the applications are submitted, the more chance of them being resolved before the cut-off date.
We encourage our members where applicable to make sure that their local authority or trust is doing all it can to recognise the need for these applications and accelerate any activity to ensure that children are not left behind come 30th June.
BASW is planning an event with The Children’s Society on the EUSS - more details TBA.