23rd January 2023

Statement from the Children’s Commissioner on unaccompanied asylum-seeking children

The Children’s Commissioner has issued the following statement in response to news that unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) have been disappearing from their accommodation. 

I am deeply concerned by the risks facing unaccompanied asylum-seeking children placed in hotels from those determined to exploit them. We must treat them as the vulnerable children they are and support them properly from the moment they set foot on our shores.

I have been seeking assurances that appropriate care and advocacy is made available to these young people from the point of arrival, including through visits to these hotels and intake units in Kent to understand children’s experiences.

We cannot expect children who have faced the worst trauma to be left to look after themselves as independents – they should be given the care and protection of the state from day one, until they turn 18.

I am writing to the Home Secretary today to ask for reassurance that all protocol is followed for missing children, including by notifying authorities of serious incidents.