Children who are separated or unaccompanied and are claiming asylum have faced and witnessed atrocities, fled conflict, persecution, human rights abuses and have endured perilous journeys. They need – and are entitled to – care in supportive settings, with skilled professionals to help them recover in safety. Yet in recent years, these children are being placed in Home Office-run hotels widely recognised as unsuitable accommodation, even on an emergency basis. We have seen the government significantly erode the rights of children seeking asylum by excluding them from the child protection and welfare frameworks that should apply to all children in this country, regardless of nationality, ethnicity or immigration status.
There is no lawful basis for the Home Office to house children in hotels and this is a very dangerous precedent which leaves some of the most traumatised and in-need children at risk and outside of our child welfare and protection system. The government must, as a matter of urgency, end the use of hotels and ensure that local authorities are sufficiently funded to care for this group of children. The government must also launch an urgent independent inquiry given these significant matters of public concern following the reported failures to protect vulnerable children from harm.