§ Mr. Woodward
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many asylum-seeking children were supported under(a) section 17 and (b) section 20 of the Children's Act 1989 in the year to June 2001; 
(2) what estimate his Department has made of the number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in local authority care receiving full board at the latest available date. 
§ Jacqui Smith
[holding answer 31 October 2001]: The information is not collected centrally in the form requested.
The Department is currently conducting a children in need census with local authorities which covers the activity in a "typical" week in September or October 2001 831W selected by the authority. This census, for the first time, includes a question on asylum-seeking children. These data will not be available until some time in 2002.
The Home Office administers the grant to local authorities for those unaccompanied asylum-seeking children who are supported under the Children Act. Such children receive a needs assessment from their social services department. This should look at children's cases on an individual basis but it is likely that those children under 16 will be assessed as needing to be taken into care under section 20 of the Children Act. Older children may be assessed as needing the less intensive support available under section 17. As at 26 January 2001, local authorities were claiming grant for
For the financial year 2000–01, local authorities claimed grant for the following number of support weeks:
- under 16 year-olds: 1,376
- 16 and 17 year-olds: 4,702.
These figures cannot be simply converted into numbers of young people.
- under 16 year-olds: 67,491 weeks
- 16 and 17 year-olds: 239,598 weeks.