There are Norfolk children who need good homes, MP says as she rejects plan to take more child refugees

Norwich MPs Chloe Smith in a House of Commons debate

Norwich MPs Chloe Smith in a House of Commons debate - Credit: Archant

Chloe Smith has rejected a move which would have seen the UK take 3,000 more refugees saying there were still one thousand Norfolk children needing a home.

The Norwich MP joined the government and the majority of Conservative MPs in rejecting a change to the Immigration Bill which would have seen the government take in more unaccompanied minors.

Ms Smith, who was one of a team of MPs to scrutinise the legislation, said the bill was about the wisest use of resources,

She said the government must address whether it was doing enough to help the children already in need in this country, telling MPs her local authority did not do well on this count.

She said Norfolk had more than 1,000 children who were in care and who needed good homes.

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'We must ask ourselves: how are we to provide a supportive, protective and caring environment for these children if we cannot already find enough foster homes and enough long-term homes for those children?'

'Given these serious practical reservations, given that we do not already have enough supportive and caring environments for all the children we would wish to help, given the action that we are already taking and will take within those constraints, and given that surely it would be brutal to promise something that we are not currently able to deliver, I support the minister's position tonight and find it difficult at this time to support Lords amendment 87 [the change to the legislation which would see 3,000 children come to the UK].

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James Joyce, chairman of the children's services committee at Norfolk County Council, said the situation over foster carers was improving week by week.

He said they always needed foster carers and he would encourage people who felt they could provide a home to come forward, but he said there was a strong body of foster carers doing an outstanding job at the moment.

'Yes we have a large number of looked after children - at the moment it is 1,035, however not all of those are cases for adoption, some actually are taken into care temporarily because their families are going through difficulties and they are reunited with them in a few weeks, every child is different.'

'I believe this country and European countries should step up to the plate. However obviously we need this as a thing from central government and therefore stepping up to the plate and therefore resources are provided by central government to support those children.'

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