Response to Barnardo's report on the welfare of asylum seeking children - Refugee Council
January 7, 2008

Response to Barnardo’s report on the welfare of asylum seeking children

The children’s charity Barnardo’s today published its report on the welfare of asylum seeking children, called Like every other child?. Focusing on children in asylum seeking families, it contains powerful testimony about the damage caused to children by aspects of the asylum system, such as the use of detention, and the unacceptable levels of poverty asylum seeking families are forced into. It also argues in favour of giving asylum seekers the right to work, to help asylum seekers lift themselves out of poverty and support their families.

Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:

“This report adds a welcome voice to the debate about the treatment of asylum seeking children and their families. The testimony contained within it highlights the often shocking conditions asylum seeking children are forced to endure and the hugely detrimental impact government policy such as detention and the restrictions on the right to work has on asylum seeking families.

“We have known for a long time that the system is failing children whose families are seeking asylum, and we fully endorse the report’s calls for an entitlement to work, which could allow families who are here for extended periods to lift themselves out of poverty. The damage detaining children does to them is also well-illustrated by the report. Children should never be locked up, and we point to this report as yet another piece of evidence that it is unacceptable.

“By including them as part of their End Child Poverty campaign, Barnardo’s reminds us once again that asylum seeking children are children first and foremost. The government has vowed to eradicate child poverty by 2010, this must include asylum seeking children too.”