Review on for protecting welfare of children
19th May 2010: The government is talking to a range of experts, charities and organisations representing the interest of children to create viable long-term solutions to the issue of children detention.
A government minister also announced children will no longer be detained overnight at Scotland’s immigration removal centre with immediate effect.
The announcement came after Scottish Government criticised the continuing detention of children at Dungavel.
Families detained north of the border would be moved to Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire, which has specialist family and child facilities and support services, after undergoing initial health and welfare screening at Dungavel in Lanarkshire.
Immigration Minister Damian Green is leading a wide-ranging review and is setting out plans in the coming months. The review is about protecting the welfare of children, while still ensuring the removal of those who have no legal right to be in this country, the UK Border Agency said.
The Agency added: `It would be wrong to prejudge the outcome of this review, but the government is committed to looking at this issue afresh; the government will not rule any proposal in or out at this stage.
`Immigration removal centres which currently hold children with their families are Yarl’s Wood in Bedfordshire, and Dungavel in Scotland and Tinsley House in West Sussex, where they are held only for 72 and 24 hours respectively’.
Immigration Minister Damian Green said: ‘Our coalition government is committed to ending the detention of children for immigration purposes, we think this is the right thing to do. I hope that we can have plans agreed within the next few months.
‘I am launching a comprehensive review of alternatives to child detention, including opening a dialogue with relevant stakeholders, organisations and experts.
‘This work has already started, because it is in all our interests, including those children currently in detention, to do it quickly, but to also do it well and safely.
‘While keeping children’s welfare at the heart of what we do, our government is committed to returning those with no right to stay in the UK.’