Detention of Children

Ending the Detention of Children: Developing an Alternative Approach to Family Returns

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government Coalition Agreement (May 2010) included a commitment to end the detention of children for immigration purposes. A review process was established by the Home Office to identify how this commitment would be delivered. Professor Heaven Crawley was commissioned by the Wales Family Returns Group to produce a briefing paper on alternatives to detention which can inform the review process. The paper draws upon an existing body of research in the UK and internationally to develop an alternative approach which does not rely upon detention to secure family returns. The evidence presented in the paper suggests that  alternatives to detention are meaningful only if they exist within a broader system of decision-making that ensures ongoing and consistent contact is maintained, and where asylum seekers have information about their rights and are aware of their obligations.