No Place for a Child - Children in UK Immigration Detention: Impacts, Alternatives and Safeguards
London, England: Save the Children UK
2005, 96 pages
Examines the impact of the detention of immigrant children in the United Kingdom and explores alternatives to safeguard children's rights. Research is based on 32 case studies; observational visits at two detention centers; interviews with over 40 government officials, policy makers, and practitioners; and an extensive literature review. Findings indicate that approximately 2,000 children are detained with their families each year with detention times ranging from 7 to 268 days with over half of the cases detained for over 28 days. Children in detention centers are at triple risk for mental health issues, physical health deterioration, and are denied access to education. Future recommendations include: placing of the needs of children above policy; discontinuing the practice of detaining children for immigration control purposes; improving age assessment procedures; updating the reporting mechanism for immigration staff; and developing alternatives to detention such as the Appearance Assistance Program (AAP) in the United States and Sweden to assist with voluntary returns if requested. Current conditions can be improved by enforcing a statutory limit of seven days of detention for children; increasing monitoring and reduction of children transferring from one detention facility to another; providing legal advice to all detainees; recording and publishing detailed statistics on immigration detention cases; conducting enhanced criminal checks for all detention center staff; and improving the assessment and review process with welfare and pastoral care visits and family input on case management decisions.
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