The Government has promised to publish a new strategy by May 2017 aimed at prioritising the safety and well being of unaccompanied children.
In its announcement, the Government pledged to ‘strengthen’ the system for reuniting unaccompanied children in Europe with their family in the UK, as well as increasing the number of foster carers.
Ministers have also promised to examine whether or not more can be done to help prevent unaccompanied children going missing from care.
Refugee Council Policy Manager Judith Dennis said: “This is undoubtedly welcome news. If the Government is serious about wanting to make the safety and well being of these children its top priority then there are some clear steps forward it could make.
“Firstly, it’s vital that the Government reunites children with their families as safely and swiftly as possible, and overturns the existing, perverse policy which deliberately prevents lone children in Britain from being joined by their mums and dads.
“It’s also imperative that all unaccompanied children are assigned an independent guardian who has the legal power to represent their best interests and make sure they’re properly protected.
“Finally, the Government must acknowledge that the crucial issue of assessing children’s ages shouldn’t be based on the guesswork of immigration officials; clearly it’s something best left to the professionals.
“Children’s safety and well being must always come first.”