Update on the Homes for Ukraine scheme
The latest data (as of 11 April) indicates there have been 803 requests from Ukrainians matched with 544 sponsors in the Essex County Council (ECC) area. All these applications are at various stages of checking and approval.
DBS checks for sponsors continue with both adults and children’s social workers involved.
The first editions of our Sponsor packs are now online, including the translated versions of the packs for Ukrainian families.
Housing Assurance/Safeguarding update
Accommodation checks are being carried out by district, borough and city councils.
Safeguarding guidance has been issued to 142 Social Workers from ECC’s Children and Families service, who have been briefed to assist. Over 90 Social Workers have come on board to undertake safeguarding checks and social worker visits have commenced.
Translation services are being made available by the Essex Welfare Service.
We expect new guidance for councils from government to be issued this week.
Ports of Entry
Stansted Airport is seeing greater numbers of Ukrainian arrivals, with on average 177 coming through arrivals every day last week. Up to 20 Ukrainian arrivals per day are now arriving at Harwich, with low numbers also set to arrive via Southend.
Most Ukrainians are being met by a family member or sponsor and do not need support on arrival.
Central government are to advise regarding the issue of guests arriving without accommodation, but not necessarily presenting to the Housing Authority of the Port of Entry.
Guests need to be sympathetically supported to ultimately get to the area where family live and be accommodated.
Border Force are looking into collecting improved data on arrivals, the Red Cross can then look to see how many volunteers they can provide to meet demand.
Although no guests have arrived at Southend as yet, this is expected to change, so a welcome point may be established.
The main focus for the week is looking at a more sustainable way to access interpreters.
The districts, borough and city councils are looking at the best mechanisms for distributing the £200 payments for guests. This will be issued via pre-paid card.
School places for Ukrainian children
We continue to support Ukrainian families and their sponsors to help them settle into their new communities. This includes meeting any welfare needs as well as children and young people’s educational needs.
All families arriving from Ukraine will need to follow the established process for mid-year school admissions.
We continue to work closely with schools to ensure that all children are placed in schools within a reasonable distance from their homes.
The educational needs of all children living and arriving in Essex remains our top priority and we will continue to support both families and schools with school admissions along with other needs the families may have.