A report by the Ombudsman for Children, Emily Logan, highlights the inadequate service provision of care for asylum seeking children. Findings from the Ombudsman revealed that there were 174 children currently in this situation in Ireland. The Ombudsman highlighted that these children do not end up in Ireland by choice. She described these children as ‘separate’ children - children under the age of 18, travelling outside their country of origin without a parent. Reasons provided by the Ombudsman on why these children end up in Ireland include armed conflict within the child’s own country, extreme deprivation, while others are trafficked for sexual exploitation.
The Ombudsman is mainly concerned with the disparity of care provided for children coming from other countries. She highlighted the discrepancies between care of Irish children in residential homes to that of asylum seeking children in hostels. The Ombudsman described the ‘homely’ environment that existed in residential care homes compared to that of hostels merely accommodating asylum seeking children. The Ombudsman highlighted that hostels were unregistered and no independent inspection of these hostels occurred. One of the shocking findings was the lack of trained staff with only two security members present from five o’ clock in the evenings.
The safety of these children is the Ombudsman’s primary concern. A cd accompanies the report which highlights the children’s experiences of the hostels.
For more information see http://www.rte.ie/news/2009/1119/children.html where there is a link to an interview with the Ombudsman on Morning Ireland.
The Ombudsman has provided a foreword for the IPRT’s new publication Detention of Children in Ireland: International Standards and Best Practice, 30th November 2009.