Fears for young asylum seekers

SEPARATED children who came to this country, often by being trafficked, are being moved into adult direct provision accommodation once they turn 18.

The use of direct provision – centres where asylum seekers are housed – has been widely condemned, and now concerns are being raised as young people are moved the moment they turn 18.

It is understood there are about 70 such young people in the system at the moment who live in Dublin, but who will be moved to centres around the country.

The issue was raised in the annual report of the Ombudsman for Children, published last week, and in the Seanad by Green Party Senator Mark Dearey.

Mr Dearey said young people were being moved from the facilities they currently occupy – utterly inadequate as they are – to adult direct provision centres around the country. They are all currently in Dublin.

He said the young people were extremely vulnerable.

“Crosscare, the social care service providing services for them, has identified them as people who require stability and after-care, to which young people in HSE care who are Irish and reach 18 years of age are entitled. These young people ought to be entitled to it too. They will experience trauma if moved to direct provision centres in Sligo, Galway, Donegal and so forth.

“I ask that these vulnerable young people be dealt with according to their need, not according to the system’s need. They should be allowed to complete their education in Dublin, where many of them have integrated into schools, football clubs and so forth.”

Concerns around the treatment of separated children were brought to light by the ombudsman last year.

A report examined the care given to separated asylum seekers aged under 18. It found the centres did not meet the standards stipulated in the Child Care Act, 1991 and were not examined by the Health Information and Quality Authority.

In this year’s annual report, the Ombudsman, Emily Logan, said a number of separated children seeking asylum had contacted the office raising the following concerns:

* The process followed for age assessment.

* The asylum determination process.

* The lack of services and supports provided to ‘aged out minors’ ie. those who reach 18 years; and

* Separation from and access to siblings.

Ms Logan said separated children were entitled to the same treatment and rights as nationals or resident children.


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