A total of 234 children live in Hampshire – excluding Portsmouth and Southampton – under the status of children seeking asylum.

These children arrive in small boats after more than six months of travelling as the migratory crisis widens throughout Europe.

Although the island is more than 3,500 miles from countries like Iran or Afghanistan, this does not impede families seeking a future free of violence for their children.

The escalation of violence in these countries has increased the arrival of boats on the coasts of the United Kingdom in recent months.

The provisional total for 2023 now stands at 10,139, according to the latest data from the Home Office. Between June 10 and 17, 2,529 people were reported to have arrived.

Minors can arrive through means other than boats; on occasions, ‘unaccompanied children’ will disembark from the back of lorries using the M27/M3/A34 corridor’, a spokesperson for Hampshire County Council (HCC) explained.

He added: "These children are known as spontaneous arrivals."

For children identified as spontaneous arrivals’ once they arrived, they are age assessed and identified as ‘Looked After’. For each ‘looked after’ child, HCC receives £114 per night.

Even though boats haven’t arrived on the Hampshire coast, the small boat arrivals impact HCC as it is a proactive member of the National Transfer Scheme (NTS).

The Local Authority which covers the whole county apart from the two cities, takes 0.1 per cent of these children through the scheme, meaning that Hampshire’s mandated number is 285.

Currently, HCC is looking after 234 children seeking asylum who are under the age of 18, with an additional 386 care leavers.

“The children come from many countries but predominantly Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq.

“Many arrive with significant mental and physical health issues, as a consequence of trauma experienced in their own country, as well as on the journey to the UK, which in some cases can take up to six months.”

The county council receives £143 per child per night by contributing to the costs of placements. Current placements cost between 30-62k per annum.

To support these children, HCC offers them help through its Specialist Refugee Teams, formed by seven social workers, two family practitioners, six care leaving personal assistants, and admin staff.

234, 160 of these are in Refugee Teams, which support them with a therapeutic approach to help them overcome and recognise the trauma they have gone through.

The Team works closely with the Willow Team to complete trafficking and age assessments, explore risks around exploitation, and with Red Cross to locate and make contact with birth families.

An update on the Refugee Team and Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children will be presented at the Corporate Parenting Board (June 5).