The government has announced a new strategy for dealing with unaccompanied refugee children.
In a joint initiative by the Home Office and the Department for Education, specialist training will be made available for around 1,000 social workers and foster carers around the country, designed to help them deal with the challenges posed by often traumatised children and teenagers who travel to the UK without their parents or families, as migrants, asylum-seekers or refugees.
Councils will also receive new statutory guidance on looking after migrant and exploited children, including information on how to ensure the youngsters themselves are aware of their rights in the UK. Meanwhile, the two government departments will conduct new research into the effectiveness of current measures.
The initiative forms part of a wider government drive to support local councils tasked with looking after these vulnerable, abandoned youngsters. Close to 3,000 arrived in the UK last year and claimed asylum.
As the name suggests, the Coram Children’s Legal Centre works to protect the rights of young people under the law. Head of Policy and Programmes Kamena Dorling said:
“The Strategy’s clear message is that these children are children first and foremost and must not be defined by immigration status. All children seeking protection in the UK must have access to the care, services and support they desperately need, and we are pleased that the best interests of the child have been at the heart of the government’s approach in developing this strategy.”
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