Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children should be allocated guardians to help them through the asylum process, an expert has said.
Jane Dykins, head of the Refugee Council’s children’s panel, said the guardians could be similar to those appointed by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service to help children involved in family proceedings.
She told a conference organised by Africans Unite Against Child Abuse that children did not feel safe confiding in some professionals as they viewed them as authority figures.
The guardians would require a statutory footing to enable them to work effectively with social services and other agencies, she added.
“France, Denmark and the Netherlands all have guardians for asylum-seeking children, which begs the question ‘why can’t we?’,” she said.