Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children often find it harder to access appropriate services than citizen children of the UK, a leading refugee campaigner said today.
Jane Dykins, head of the Refugee Council’s children’s section, said she had recently come across a 13-year-old unaccompanied minor who had been placed in bed and breakfast accommodation instead of foster care.
She claimed asylum-seeking children, particularly those whose ages were disputed, often faced higher thresholds to access services.
Meanwhile, a group campaigning to stop asylum-seeking children being held in immigration detention centres hope to meet the new home secretary, John Reid, to press their case.
The No Place for a Child coalition has a meeting scheduled for 12 July, and hopes to have gathered 10,000 signatures calling for an end to detention. It has collected 3,500 signatures so far.
Dykins said one family with children had just left the Yarl’s Wood detention centre after being held there for seven months.
Statistics on the number of asylum-seeking children held in detention centres are hard to come by, but campaigners estimate that 2,000 are held each year.
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