Kent County Council (KCC) could launch a judicial review next week to get the government to force other councils to take children after warning it was at “breaking point”, reports the Sunday Times.
Officials fear the area, which contains Dover, where most migrants arrive from the mainland, may not be able to provide adequate care for traumatized children, including those who have fled war zones.
They fear that these children are no longer at risk of being treated, some single girls being potential targets for prostitution.
Last week, a Vietnamese girl who was traveling alone went missing after arriving in Dover.
KCC urged Home Secretary Priti Patel to share unaccompanied asylum-seeking children with other counsel in the UK, which had been offered previously, or he could be forced to refuse them.
Kent’s Executive Director of Children’s Services Matt Dunkley said, “We’re at the breaking point.
“Underneath is a humanitarian crisis involving traumatized young people who deserve the best support, and we are at an impasse with the government over their care and well-being.”
Statistics show that 242 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children have arrived in the UK this year, including 52 displaced to other areas of the council. Some of the children who arrived were only 12 years old.
The number of children who arrived in May was 115, nearly double the number of children who arrived around the same time last year.
Tragedy struck last October when two children, aged eight and five, who were traveling with two adults drowned off Dunkirk when their boat capsized.
The Home Office on Friday confirmed that French authorities had dealt with eight incidents involving 130 people, with the UK dealing with four boats involving 83 people.
The number of people crossing the 21-mile stretch of water has nearly doubled so far in 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, with more than 3,100 reaching English shores by the end of May.
A spokesperson for the Home Office said: “Those who try to cheat the system place an unfair burden on the taxpayer and prevent genuine asylum seekers from obtaining support.
“This is why the government is presenting the new immigration plan which will allow us to welcome the most disadvantaged through secure and legal channels, while preventing abuse of the system.
“We recognize the long-standing role Kent County Council has played in supporting unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and are extremely grateful for their contribution.
“We continue to encourage more regions to join the national transfer program and do their part.
“We have already consulted on how to improve the regime to make it fairer – the results of which will be published very soon.”