Date July 13th, 2022
ECPAT UK has published a report focussed on concerns about children arriving in the UK alone who are being unlawfully excluded from the duties and protections afforded to all children in England, placing them at significant risk of harm including exploitation and going missing, whilst outside of the well-established local safeguarding framework under the Children Act 1989. It finds that a total of 1,606 children were unlawfully accommodated by the Home Office, in settings such as hotels and outside of the protections of the Children Act 1989. It also finds that 45 children went missing from this accommodation in a 10-month period. It recommends:
- The UK Government must prioritise crossdepartmental collaboration particularly between the Home Office, the Department for Education and the Department for Levelling up, Housing & Communities to ensure the lawful care and protection of unaccompanied children.
- The Home Secretary must immediately cease to unlawfully accommodate unaccompanied children and fulfil the statutory duties under Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009.
- The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities must ensure local authority children’s services have sufficient resource and capacity to fulfil their legal obligations to care for children in need in their area.
- The Secretary of State for Education must ensure that all cases of unaccompanied children going missing are considered at high risk of exploitation and that serious incident notifications are made to the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel.
Read full piece at source: Outside the Frame: Unaccompanied children denied care and protection