The Children's Society and Bail for Immigration Detainees was delighted by the pledge made by the new Government to end the barbaric practice of detaining children for immigration purposes and Nick Clegg's promise that Yarl's Wood family unit will close. But there is increasing concern about the absence so far of a clear formal announcement of a change in policy from Immigration Minister, Damian Green.
Fears are growing, too, that rushed-through alternative ways of dealing with families could also mean huge distress to children facing deportation. It appears from leaked documents that a recently-started Liverpool pilot is giving families only two weeks notice to pack their bags voluntarily or face the prospect of forced deportation after the deadline expires.
We feel that children will suffer greatly if alternatives like this are adopted. More compassionate and workable approaches are needed that take into account the best interests and welfare of the child from start to finish in the immigration process. We look forward to a formal announcement soon confirming the end of the child detention policy.