At least 80 asylum-seeking children were held in detention for up two months last year, according to Home Office figures released today.
The annual asylum statistics reveal that 30 of the 80 children held for one to two months were aged under five, while 10 children were held up to three months.
However, the figures show only 30 children were detained by December last year, all in Yarl’s Wood detention centre.
Also, the number of unaccompanied children applying for asylum declined marginally for the second consecutive year.
There were 2,965 asylum applications from unaccompanied children last year, down 6 per cent from the 3,180 applications in 2003.
But there were big increases in the numbers of children arriving from Iran, Afghanistan and China.