Fos­tered child in Lon­don was used as a slave

AU­DIT RE­VEALS SHOCK­ING CASE OF MOD­ERN-DAY SLAV­ERY DIS­COV­ERED JUST A FEW MONTHS AGO

Uxbridge Gazette - - News - By TALIA SHADWELL Lo­cal Democ­racy Re­porter

The City of Lon­don can­celled a contract with a foster care agency af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion found a young asy­lum seeker it had placed was be­ing sub­jected to mod­ern­day slav­ery by their carer.

The young per­son was re­moved from the place­ment fol­low­ing the dis­cov­ery in late-2017, ac­cord­ing to a re­port pre­sented to the Cor­po­ra­tion’s safeguarding com­mu­nity and chil­dren’s ser­vices sub-com­mit­tee on Wed­nes­day.

The case emerged dur­ing an au­dit of in­de­pen­dent fos­ter­ing agen­cies (IFAs) which fo­cused on the care of unac­com­pa­nied asy­lum-seek­ing chil­dren .

The Novem­ber 2017 au­dit was or­dered fol­low­ing the Par­sons Green bomb­ing in Lon­don by Iraqi asy­lum-seeker Ahmed Has­san , who was liv­ing in foster care when he car­ried out the at­tack on the Lon­don Un­der­ground.

It fo­cused on whether the IFAs had ad­e­quate train­ing to de­tect risks of rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion, and also as­sessed the young peo­ple in their care.

It found that all IFAs were well­trained, but noted a di­rect link be­tween the qual­ity of the fos­ter­ing agency and the care pro­vided, sin­gling out one case for con­cern.

“One young per­son who was iden­ti­fied as be­ing sub­ject to mod­ern-day slav­ery was placed with an IFA that was judged as be­ing in­ad­e­quate in their re­cent Of­sted in­spec­tion,” the re­port said.

“The young per­son has now been moved from the place­ment and the IFA in­volved is no longer be­ing used by the City of Lon­don.”

The case was not specif­i­cally dis­cussed in the meet­ing, but safeguarding and qual­ity as­sur­ance man­ager Pat Dixon told the sub­com­mit­tee: “One of the key ar­eas that came through in this re­port was we need to be more ro­bust in or­der­ing risk as­sess­ments.”

Chair­man Ran­dall An­der­son said that de­tails of that par­tic­u­lar case would be tem­po­rar­ily with­held from the pub­lic part of the meet­ing, in or­der to pro­tect the iden­ti­ties of a small num­ber of chil­dren.

He added that de­tails would be made pub­lic once they could be re­leased with­out breach­ing any child’s pri­vacy.

The City does not pro­vide its own fos­ter­ing ser­vices, in­stead com­mis­sion­ing them via the PanLon­don Con­sor­tium, us­ing the in­de­pen­dent agen­cies.

The re­port noted most so­cial work­ers in­volved with fos­ter­ing place­ments had con­sid­er­able ex­per­tise in iden­ti­fy­ing chil­dren at risk of rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion, and City of Lon­don po­lice were closely in­volved when con­cerns were raised.

Com­mit­tee mem­ber Dhruv Pa­tel ques­tioned whether the fo­cus should ex­tend to whether there were ex­ploited adults in the Square Mile too.

He said: “I just won­der whether there is any pos­si­bil­ity of look­ing at mod­ern-day slav­ery’s reach within the Cor­po­ra­tion’s area – be­cause there are things like beg­ging games, nail bars, peanut sell­ers. I won­dered whether there was any­thing we could do about that?”

Fol­low­ing the meet­ing a City of Lon­don Cor­po­ra­tion spokesper­son said: “The wel­fare of our looked af­ter chil­dren is our top pri­or­ity.

“We work closely with the po­lice and other agen­cies to en­sure that our chil­dren feel safe and are safe in the en­vi­ron­ment in which they are liv­ing. We are com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing our staff and in­de­pen­dent fos­ter­ing agen­cies to pre­vent ex­ploita­tion through rais­ing aware­ness and train­ing.”

Feed­back from young peo­ple in care was also pre­sented dur­ing the meet­ing, show­ing high sat­is­fac­tion; with young peo­ple par­tic­u­larly prais­ing their so­cial work­ers, and more than three-quar­ters say­ing they were happy in their place­ments.

The sole neg­a­tive com­ment was not about a fos­ter­ing place­ment, but was high­lighted by chil­dren’s ser­vices man­ager Vera Bein­ing as “very sad”.

She said the young per­son had re­ceived a neg­a­tive re­sult from an im­mi­gra­tion ap­pli­ca­tion, and had re­marked: “No one can help me now.”

PIC­TURE POSED BY MODEL: GETTY IM­AGES

A case of mod­ern day slav­ery has been re­vealed in an au­dit of fos­ter­ing or­dered af­ter the case of Par­sons Green bomber who made ex­plo­sives while in foster care

IM­AGE: MET PO­LICE

Par­sons Green Tube bomber Ahmed Has­san was placed in foster care when he came to the UK

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