15 May 2010

"The government is committed to ending the detention of children for immigration purposes. We can announce that Immigration Minister Damian Green will be leading a wide-ranging review to achieve this, setting out plans in the coming months.

The review - which starts now - will include talking to a range of experts, charities and organisations which represent the interest of children, to create viable long-term solutions. This 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.

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.'"

article on the UKBA website