28 Mar 2018

Responding to The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration’s report on how the Home Office considers the ‘best interests of unaccompanied asylum seeking children,Sam Royston, Director of Policy and Research at The Children’s Society, said:

“Unaccompanied children coming to the UK should be treated as children first and foremost and their welfare and best interests must always take priority, regardless of their immigration status.

“Sadly we see from our work with these vulnerable children that the asylum process can be a confusing and daunting experience, often with significant delays. Many have endured a long and dangerous journey to the UK to escape the horrors of war and persecution in their home country and they are having to grapple with the asylum system while they adjust to a strange new place, often enter care and find their feet at school or college.

“The temporary status granted to many asylum seeking children creates a huge amount of uncertainty as they approach adulthood and we are pleased to see the inspector call on the Government to review this policy. Currently, many unaccompanied children leaving care may be left in limbo, unable to return to their home country but facing a cliff-edge of destitution, homelessness and exploitation here in the UK once their leave to remain expires. This needs to be urgently addressed.

“It’s encouraging to see the government accepting so many of the report’s recommendations; much needs to be changed to give children seeking safety in the UK the support they deserve.”

Media enquiries

For more information, please contact Senior Media Officer Rob Devey on 07814 525918 or rob.devey@childrenssociety.org.uk. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.

Notes to editor

The inspection report can be found here.  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/an-inspection-of-how-the-home-office-considers-the-best-interests-of-unaccompanied-asylum-seeking-children.

The Children’s Society is a national charity that works with the most vulnerable children and young people in Britain today. We listen. We support. We act. Because no child should feel alone.