Bishop of Durham asks about advocates for unaccompanied asylum seeking children

The Bishop of Durham asked a question on appointing advocates for unaccompanied asylum seeking children on 23rd January 2023, following a debate on safeguarding these children in hotels and other government-provided accommodation:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I thank the Minister for the care with which he is responding today; it is appreciated. Can he say how well qualified the social workers and others are to support unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, because there are particular issues around them? Would it not be better if we had a system of placing an advocate for each child, who could help them through the system, as soon as they arrive?

Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con): Clearly, the move into hotels is as swift as we can make it once the unaccompanied asylum-seeking child comes to the attention of the authorities. The hotels have staff consisting of team leaders and social workers, all of whom are fully trained and able to work with the young people. All the children receive a welfare interview, which includes questions designed to identify any potential indicators of trafficking or safeguarding issues. I assure the right reverend Prelate that the steps are taken seriously among the staff of the hotels to assist the children in so far as they can.


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