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The Children's Society and Bail for Immigration Detainees have been awarded funding from The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund to work together to end the immigration detention of children in the UK within three years.
The grant of £1,250,000 enables The Children's Society, Bail for Immigration Detainees and The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund to build upon the work of those groups and organisations that have been campaigning independently to bring an end to the detention of children.
The charities will seek to emphasise that the welfare of children must be a priority when deciding to detain a family. The reality for most children in the immigration system is that their welfare is protected by lesser safeguards than other children in the UK.
The UK detains an estimated 2,000 children a year for the purposes of immigration control. This is the only group of children who can be locked up without a time limit and with no judicial oversight for administrative purposes.
The charities are particularly concerned about the limited information available on the number of children in detention, practices in detention centres and an apparent lack of accountability for detained children at a policy and practice level.
The Children's Society and Bail for Immigration Detainees will deliver practical, emotional and legal support to families in detention helping secure their release and providing support to families coping with the impact of detention. The grant will also build an evidence base to challenge the use of child detention and to make a clear case for change to government and the wider public.
Lisa Nandy, Policy Adviser at The Children's Society said: Our work with refugee children fuels our growing concerns about their safety and welfare when held in detention. It is never acceptable to deprive a child of their liberty or separate them from their parents simply because they have sought asylum in the UK. By working with Bail for Immigration Detainees and the other very committed volunteers and charities who stand by these children, we aim to put an end to the detention of refugee children."