28 Jan 2016

In response to the Government's announcement that it will take unaccompanied children from war-torn areas, Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children's Society, said:

'Unaccompanied children are particularly vulnerable and it is right that the Government recognises this. But it is crucial that when resettling those from war-torn regions this does not make it more difficult for them to be reunited with their families.

'The Government needs to work closely with the UNHCR to make sure that when the children are resettled in the UK this does not risk permanently separating them from their families.

'It is crucial that, in addition to providing immediate safety, these children’s long-term needs are properly addressed once they arrive in the UK. The Government must make sure that children coming here on their own get the specialist support they need. This includes access to social workers, legal advice, mental health services, as well as suitable accommodation and independent legal guardians.

'Local authorities must also be given enough resources to make this possible. Children should be accommodated across the country to reduce the pressure on any single council. The Government must also look again at how to maximise the chance of children being reunited with their families, and there must be a particular focus on helping unaccompanied children to join relatives in the UK where possible.

'Unaccompanied children living on their own need more than emergency help now. They must be given the chance to develop and thrive.'

Ends


Media enquiries:

For more information, please call The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4422 or email media@childrenssociety.org.uk. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.

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.