26 Jul 2016

Responding to the House of Lords EU Home Affairs subcommittee report on unaccompanied children, Peter Grigg, Director of External Affairs at The Children’s Society, said:

“This damning report shows that children fleeing war, violence and persecution on their own are not getting the help and protection they desperately need, even when they reach the UK.

“For these children, many who have experienced unimaginable trauma, reaching the UK should mean reaching safety. But the reality is that too often the Government fails them by refusing to believe their stories, detaining them as adults or putting them in danger by forcing them to return to their countries when they turn 18.

“The Government must act without delay and give all unaccompanied children in the UK an independent legal guardian to protect their best interests and keep them safe. Local authorities must also be given the resources they need in order to provide these children with the long-term support they need, including access to social workers, mental health services, legal support and appropriate accommodation.”

Ends

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Notes to editors:

• The Children’s Society has helped change children’s stories for over a century. We expose injustice and address hard truths, tackling child poverty and neglect head-on. We fight for change based on the experiences of every child we work with and the solid evidence we gather. Through our campaigning, commitment and care, we are determined to give every child in this country the greatest possible chance in life.