In response to the Children’s Commissioner’s report published today about the experiences of unaccompanied children arriving in the UK, Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“We welcome the Children’s Commissioner’s report, and we’re pleased the reception service in Kent is seen as an example of good practice in assisting young asylum seekers to settle into life in the UK.
“However it remains a concern that the safety of unaccompanied children in the UK is often disregarded, either when they are not believed to be the age they say they are, or when they are returned to other European countries under the Dublin regulation. Unaccompanied children must be treated as children first, and asylum seekers second, so that their wellbeing is protected.
“At the Refugee Council we also reveal findings in a report today that show inconsistencies in education practices for unaccompanied children across the country, causing many to miss out on education they are entitled to. There is clearly much work to be done in education and other services to ensure these young people are fully supported to reach their potential. It is essential that the best interests of these children are at the heart of all policies and guidance that affect them.”