I recently attended two meeting arranged by Redbridge Citizens, who are working with local residents to encourage and support them to become foster carers for unaccompanied child refugees. At these meetings I gave a commitment that the London Borough of Redbridge would do everything in its power to resettle as many child refugees as possible.
Whilst we know that the position in Calais is desperate; and there is understandable pressure to name the number of children the Borough would take, this would be premature to commit to any specific number until we are clear that we are able to provide appropriately for the needs of these children.
Redbridge has already had 14 families express their interest in becoming foster carers for these children; and we are currently in the process of assessing and approving these families as foster carers before we could consider placing children with them. We will of course pursue these assessments as rapidly as possible; however, we want to make sure that all safeguard requirements are met in the interest of these vulnerable children.
I look forward to working with the London Asylum Seekers Consortium, Redbridge Citizens group and other parties to achieve real outcomes for refugees fleeing from these terrible situations in countries like Syria.