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> Asylum seeking children in the care of West Berkshire Council
Mark NWN
post Jul 30 2010, 08:56 AM
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Original Story

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A 16-year old asylum seeker from Afghanistan said that he travelled through Europe in the back of a lorry for five months before arriving in West Berkshire last year.

Kahlilullah Safi is one of 31 asylum seekers currently in foster care in the district, a number which has almost doubled in the last two years as more and more youngsters flee war-torn countries to make new lives for themselves.

He told Newburytoday.co.uk his journey was so traumatic he struggled to remember much of what went on.

“There was trouble back in my homeland. My father died 11 years ago. I had to get away; my life was in danger. I travelled through Italy, France, Turkey and Greece, I don’t remember a lot of it.”

He left behind his mother, two brothers and a sister.

Upon his arrival in West Berkshire at Chieveley service station in November he was, as happens to all unaccompanied asylum seekers, arrested, and subjected to a series of rigorous tests.

Wherever an asylum seeker is found, they become the responsibility of the local authority and with three service stations in the district, Chieveley Membury and Reading, the steady flow of arrivals has increased for West Berkshire Council year on year.

The number of unaccompanied asylum seekers in West Berkshire on 31 March, 2008, was 16.

By 31 March, 2010, that number was 31, and cost £563,348.94 over the year, with West Berkshire Council accounting for £182,390 of that total, with the rest paid by the UK Border agency.

Eventually Kahlilullah was placed under the care of Newbury’s Karleen and Mark McDonagh.

The couple have looked after around 20 youngsters over the last six years, and their extended family now includes two other Afghanistani boys, Sharifullah Ahamadzai, aged 14, who was placed with the family in October 2009, and Rahman-Gul Toothakhel, aged 15, who arrived in the UK on Christmas Eve.

“The council have us on a list of carers, and they contacted us to see if we would take on an Afghan boy who could speak no English. We never hesitated.

“There are misconceptions. It is not like these youngsters are looking for a free ride. Their families have been close to the army back home and have been killed.

They are respectful, polite, the school loves them, and they have brought the community out,” she said.

Sue Adamantos, West Central Locality Manager at West Berkshire Council, said the procedures for dealing with youngsters like Kahlil are fraught with problems.

“Many of them will say they are 15 because they know they can stay in the system longer. Tests are conducted, and if any are suspected of being 18 they are immediately deported.

“When they arrive they are hungry, dirty, some have diseases, they have travelled a long way in awful circumstances, its difficult for everybody concerned, but the council does all it can to care for them.”

“It is just another challenge. The biggest problems we face are we don’t have enough resources and we simply don’t have enough foster carers,” she added
Mrs McDonagh’s charges are now pupils at St Barts, but eventually, like all unaccompanied asylum seekers, they may have to return to their homeland once they become 18, a move which could put their lives in danger.

“They are here for however many years, and they become Westernised. Going back they stick out like a sore thumb, and there is nothing we can do about it,” said Mrs McDonagh.

“That is why it is so important that we continue to support them, not just here but in their homeland too.”



Good morning forum, what do you think of this article and the subject discussed?

It is an anonymous message board, but if you would prefer to email your views to me I would be very interested to hear what you think, mark.taylor@newburynews.co.uk

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Bloggo
post Jul 30 2010, 09:36 AM
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QUOTE (Mark NWN @ Jul 30 2010, 09:56 AM) *
Original Story




Good morning forum, what do you think of this article and the subject discussed?

It is an anonymous message board, but if you would prefer to email your views to me I would be very interested to hear what you think, mark.taylor@newburynews.co.uk

There are several elements to this story that I would like to comment on.
I guess I am going to be predictable but it's my view.

I can understand the young Afghan lads desire to leave his poor and war-torn home to find a better life elsewhere however I find it difficult to understand him leaving his mother and family behind when his support for them could be crucial. I wonder if they feel that he desserted them?

I don't understand that once in the safe and secure environment of the EC that he should not try to settle in Italy, France and any of the other countries he traveled through. Why aim for Britain? The attraction of an over generous benefits system and all that goes with it?

This country is suffering it's worst ecomomic problems for many years yet West Berks council has forked out £182k of our money to support this lad and I guess the others like him.
I would hope that my tax money was being spent on services for the people who live here and have also contributed rather than in this way. I am being taxed to the hilt and object to my contribution being spent in this way. I would like to choose my own charities to support.

After saying that I would congratulate Mr and Mrs McDonagh on their selfless efforts to accomodate and assist these kids once they are here.


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Rosewinelover
post Jul 30 2010, 09:49 AM
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QUOTE (Bloggo @ Jul 30 2010, 10:36 AM) *
There are several elements to this story that I would like to comment on.
I guess I am going to be predictable but it's my view.

I can understand the young Afghan lads desire to leave his poor and war-torn home to find a better life elsewhere however I find it difficult to understand him leaving his mother and family behind when his support for them could be crucial. I wonder if they feel that he desserted them?

I don't understand that once in the safe and secure environment of the EC that he should not try to settle in Italy, France and any of the other countries he traveled through. Why aim for Britain? The attraction of an over generous benefits system and all that goes with it?

This country is suffering it's worst ecomomic problems for many years yet West Berks council has forked out £182k of our money to support this lad and I guess the others like him.
I would hope that my tax money was being spent on services for the people who live here and have also contributed rather than in this way. I am being taxed to the hilt and object to my contribution being spent in this way. I would like to choose my own charities to support.

After saying that I would congratulate Mr and Mrs McDonagh on their selfless efforts to accomodate and assist these kids once they are here.


Everything Bloggo wrote I agree with word for word and couldn't of wrote it better myself.
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TallDarkAndHands...
post Jul 30 2010, 10:05 AM
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QUOTE (Rosewinelover @ Jul 30 2010, 10:49 AM) *
Everything Bloggo wrote I agree with word for word and couldn't of wrote it better myself.


With the exception of Belgium and the Netherlands the UK is the most densley populated large Country in Europe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_count...ulation_density

France appear to have much more room than us. Why not stay in France. There must be a reason to continue your journey to blighty. Benefits?
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Mark NWN
post Jul 30 2010, 10:07 AM
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They are under 18 and in foster care, can I ask what benefits you think they are applying for once they arrive?
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Bloggo
post Jul 30 2010, 10:13 AM
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QUOTE (Mark NWN @ Jul 30 2010, 11:07 AM) *
They are under 18 and in foster care, can I ask what benefits you think they are applying for once they arrive?

All of the following that is paid for by taxpayers:
Food, lodging, education, clothing, entertainment, medication, travel, pocket money and everything else that will be necessary to sustain them.
And you know as well as I do that there will be an extremely good reason that stops them being deported once they reach 18.
Also I understood that there was a shortage of foster parent places not only in West Berkshire but the country in general. It would be extremely unfair if these Afghans were awarded a foster placement at the expense of children already on the waiting list. Did they effectively "jump the queue"?


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TallDarkAndHands...
post Jul 30 2010, 10:22 AM
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QUOTE (Bloggo @ Jul 30 2010, 11:13 AM) *
All of the following that is paid for by taxpayers:
Food, lodging, education, clothing, entertainment, medication, travel and everything else that will be necessary to sustain them.
And you know as well as I do that there will be an extremely good reason that stops them being deported once they reach 18.


How about Doctor's and Dentists? Most of us poor Brit's have our teeth falling out of our head because we cannot afford proper Dental treatment and getting an appointment at my Doctor's surgery is very difficult. I expect translators will need to be paid for as well.

I also think that the people who actually Foster these children should be commended for such a selfless action.

Th Country is broke though. Period.
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dannyboy
post Jul 30 2010, 10:53 AM
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They come to Britain beause every one in the World speaks English as a second language. The legacy of our Empire.

Having had a 17 year old Afghan asylum seeker spend 5 months in my house I can vouch for the fact that they are just like any other children. I'd happily let another stay in my home tomorrow.
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Bloggo
post Jul 30 2010, 11:04 AM
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QUOTE (dannyboy @ Jul 30 2010, 11:53 AM) *
They come to Britain beause every one in the World speaks English as a second language. The legacy of our Empire.

I agree so in fact they could have stayed in any of the other countries they passed through.
QUOTE
Having had a 17 year old Afghan asylum seeker spend 5 months in my house I can vouch for the fact that they are just like any other children.

Of course they are like any other child. What a strange thing to say.
QUOTE
I'd happily let another stay in my home tomorrow.

Did you get paid by the council to take in the child?


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Andy1
post Jul 30 2010, 11:25 AM
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QUOTE (Bloggo @ Jul 30 2010, 11:13 AM) *
All of the following that is paid for by taxpayers:
Food, lodging, education, clothing, entertainment, medication, travel, pocket money and everything else that will be necessary to sustain them.
And you know as well as I do that there will be an extremely good reason that stops them being deported once they reach 18.
Also I understood that there was a shortage of foster parent places not only in West Berkshire but the country in general. It would be extremely unfair if these Afghans were awarded a foster placement at the expense of children already on the waiting list. Did they effectively "jump the queue"?



It's also extremely unfair on the Children who are caught up in a War which we as a Nation are playing a major part in
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Jayjay
post Jul 30 2010, 11:33 AM
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QUOTE (dannyboy @ Jul 30 2010, 11:53 AM) *
They come to Britain beause every one in the World speaks English as a second language. The legacy of our Empire.

Having had a 17 year old Afghan asylum seeker spend 5 months in my house I can vouch for the fact that they are just like any other children. I'd happily let another stay in my home tomorrow.


Quote from the foster parents “The council have us on a list of carers, and they contacted us to see if we would take on an Afghan boy who could speak no English."

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Jayjay
post Jul 30 2010, 11:41 AM
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QUOTE (Bloggo @ Jul 30 2010, 10:36 AM) *
There are several elements to this story that I would like to comment on.
I guess I am going to be predictable but it's my view.

I can understand the young Afghan lads desire to leave his poor and war-torn home to find a better life elsewhere however I find it difficult to understand him leaving his mother and family behind when his support for them could be crucial. I wonder if they feel that he desserted them?

I don't understand that once in the safe and secure environment of the EC that he should not try to settle in Italy, France and any of the other countries he traveled through. Why aim for Britain? The attraction of an over generous benefits system and all that goes with it?

This country is suffering it's worst ecomomic problems for many years yet West Berks council has forked out £182k of our money to support this lad and I guess the others like him.
I would hope that my tax money was being spent on services for the people who live here and have also contributed rather than in this way. I am being taxed to the hilt and object to my contribution being spent in this way. I would like to choose my own charities to support.

After saying that I would congratulate Mr and Mrs McDonagh on their selfless efforts to accomodate and assist these kids once they are here.


Bloggo I agree with everything you say. Also how can we justify paying £182K, so far, for this person and yet deny £180 a month to Private Aron Shelton who lost his leg trying to make Afghanistan a safe place for this illegal immigrant to live in?
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Bloggo
post Jul 30 2010, 11:46 AM
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QUOTE (Andy1 @ Jul 30 2010, 12:25 PM) *
It's also extremely unfair on the Children who are caught up in a War which we as a Nation are playing a major part in

Yes of course it is but the responsibility of looking after these children should not be decided by how far they can get in a lorry before being accidentally discovered it should be by agreement across the United Nations or the EC that these children should be accomodated and shared amongst the participating countries.
It is totally unreasonable that Briain should be picking up the tab to look after them all particularly when we are in an economic turmoil.
The fact that we are assisting in the Afghan war effort has nothing to do with it and in fact if we and the Americams were not there the Afhgan people would be in an even worse position.


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Bloggo
post Jul 30 2010, 11:52 AM
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QUOTE (Jayjay @ Jul 30 2010, 12:41 PM) *
Bloggo I agree with everything you say. Also how can we justify paying £182K, so far, for this person and yet deny £180 a month to Private Aron Shelton who lost his leg trying to make Afghanistan a safe place for this illegal immigrant to live in?

Exactly my point. We have so many people of our own who have contributed to the welfare of this country by paying their dues who are suffering because of the lack of funds.
Not only the case and others like him that you raise but cancer sufferers who are denied life prolonging drugs. Or the parents of the girl recently who had to raise £30k to send her to America for surgery to help her walk.
We need to ensure that our own people are properly looked after before playing "saviour of the worlds ill".

Also can I point out that 70 WBC staff have lost their jobs this year through financial cutbacks and the rest are on a pay freeze with the threat of more redundancies. Not exactly the best backdrop for the council giving away £182k on this.


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Andy Capp
post Jul 30 2010, 12:31 PM
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QUOTE (Jayjay @ Jul 30 2010, 12:41 PM) *
Bloggo I agree with everything you say. Also how can we justify paying £182K, so far, for this person and yet deny £180 a month to Private Aron Shelton who lost his leg trying to make Afghanistan a safe place for this illegal immigrant to live in?

The emboldened statement are wrong. The £182,000.00 is the cost on West Berks over the year for the 31 unaccompanied children. I'm also unsure if a child can technically be classified as an illegal immigrant.

The way we treat our soldiers is abominable, but we should know the risks when we volunteer. One of the risks is the government historically treat ex-soldiers very poorly.

The age of chivalry is presumably dead. There used to be a saying, women and children first. If I were a parent in a mediaeval war torn country like theirs, I'd strive to find the most comfortable country for my, or other's, children. Especially a country that is contributing to the misery.
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Bloggo
post Jul 30 2010, 12:43 PM
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QUOTE (Andy Capp @ Jul 30 2010, 01:31 PM) *
The age of chivalry is presumably dead. There used to be a saying, women and children first.

There still is however I being patriotic would suggest that it is ours.
QUOTE
If I were a parent in a mediaeval war torn country like theirs, I'd strive to find the most comfortable country for my children.

So would I.
QUOTE
Especially a country that is contributing to the misery.

If you mean that Great Britain is contributing to their misery then just wait and see the carnage and subdegation that will happen when and if the Brits and Americans pull out.
Afgahnistan will go back to the middle ages.


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Bloggo
post Jul 30 2010, 12:47 PM
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QUOTE (Andy Capp @ Jul 30 2010, 01:31 PM) *
The emboldened statements are wrong. The £182,000.00 is the cost on West Berks over the year for the 31 unaccompanied children. I'm also unsure if a child can technically be classified as an illegal immigrant.

I said "this lad and others like him". I see you like to quote out of context to try and make a point.
QUOTE
The way we treat our soldiers is abominable, but we should know the risks when we volunteer. One of the risks is the government historically treat ex-soldiers very poorly.

Shame on you.



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Andy Capp
post Jul 30 2010, 12:49 PM
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QUOTE (Bloggo @ Jul 30 2010, 01:43 PM) *
There still is however I being patriotic would suggest that it is ours.

Children are children, regardless of colour or creed.

QUOTE (Bloggo @ Jul 30 2010, 01:43 PM) *
If you mean that Great Britain is contributing to their misery then just wait and see the carnage and subdegation that will happen when and if the Brits and Americans pull out.
Afgahnistan will go back to the middle ages.

Where would you say it is at the moment? As has alleged recently with the Wikileaks. We don't hear the half of it.
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dannyboy
post Jul 30 2010, 12:49 PM
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QUOTE (Bloggo @ Jul 30 2010, 12:04 PM) *
I agree so in fact they could have stayed in any of the other countries they passed through.

Of course they are like any other child. What a strange thing to say.

Did you get paid by the council to take in the child?

Stay in any other country? - I'm not aware of English being the everyday langage of any European country.

yes were were paid by the council. about £15 a day.
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dannyboy
post Jul 30 2010, 12:51 PM
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QUOTE (Jayjay @ Jul 30 2010, 12:33 PM) *
Quote from the foster parents “The council have us on a list of carers, and they contacted us to see if we would take on an Afghan boy who could speak no English."

meaning?
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