Exclusive: Home Office fails to honour pledge of assessments for detained children

    No welfare assessments of children detained in an immigration
    removal centre have taken place more than a year after the
    government announced the policy, Community Care has
    learned, writes Amy Taylor.

    In December 2003, the Home Office said that the welfare and
    educational needs of any child who was detained at Dungavel in
    Scotland for 21 days would be assessed to make sure that their
    needs were being met. But Home Office officials confirmed that, so
    far, none have taken place.

    The government said the assessments would also be rolled out to
    other centres with children, Oakington and Tinsley House.

    Sarah Cutler, policy and research officer at the charity Bail
    for Immigration Detainees, said that the lack of assessments showed
    a “blatant disregard” of detained children’s
    needs.

    In November 2004, a report by the chief inspector of prisons
    Anne Owers found that procedures for safeguarding children at
    Oakington during an inspection in the summer were inadequate.
    “With a report that damning you would expect that the
    government would move quickly on carrying out assessments,”
    Cutler said.

    However, a Home Office spokesperson insisted that, despite the
    lack of assessments, any welfare concerns about a child were drawn
    to the minister’s attention. They added that the government
    was working to “establish protocols” with South
    Lanarkshire social services department for the assessments at
    Dungavel.

     

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