Sup­port vi­tal for refugee chil­dren

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

BARNARDO’S sup­ports the calls to ad­mit 3,000 more un­ac­com­pa­nied refugee chil­dren to the UK.

But as the Govern­ment con­sid­ers its op­tions we are warn­ing that if the right sup­port is not put in place, many of th­ese chil­dren could find them­selves alone, home­less and bat­tling men­tal health is­sues.

Many of th­ese un­ac­com­pa­nied chil­dren will have been se­verely trau­ma­tised by the ef­fects of war – they will have wit­nessed things we can’t even imag­ine.

There­fore, as we would if our own chil­dren had suf­fered the same, we must put in place that com­fort, re­as­sur­ance and sup­port they so des­per­ately need.

The Govern­ment must ur­gently pri­ori­tise spe­cial­ist, tailored care re­quired by the unique cir­cum­stances of refugee chil­dren, and a strate­gic re­set­tle­ment plan for the as­sess­ment

and sup­port of Syr­ian refugees should be put in place – we have seen no ev­i­dence any of this has been done.

Th­ese chil­dren need, and de­serve, a de­cent place to live with the right peo­ple and sup­port in place for as long as they need it. Ef­fec­tive sup­port now will also pre­vent prob­lems in the fu­ture.

If this is not put in place we are deeply con­cerned about the im­pact on th­ese chil­dren and whether they will be able to live healthy and safe lives in the UK.

JAVED KHAN Chief Ex­ec­u­tive, Barnardo’s

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