Minister attacked over asylum seekers

The failure to cover asylum-seeking children in measures in the
Children Bill has been criticised as “unjustifiable discrimination”
by MPs and lords.

In a report published this week, the joint committee on human
rights has dismissed the children minister’s explanations for
excluding immigration and asylum agencies from new duties in the
bill and called for the situation to be remedied.

In her evidence to the committee, Margaret Hodge said only agencies
responsible for strategic decision-making and the commissioning of
services at a local level should sit on local safeguarding
children’s boards and have the duty to co-operate with children’s
services authorities to improve children’s well-being.

It also dismisses the government’s idea that agencies must be local
not national, pointing out this ignores lessons of the Toni-Ann
Byfield case.

Birmingham Area Child Protection Committee’s report into the
seven-year-old’s death said that there was a need to develop a
closer relationship between local social care and health services
and the Immigration Service.

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