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Council wrongly classed asylum seeker children as adults

Council wrongly classed asylum seeker children as adults

A London council has had to pay out more than £1m in costs for wrongly assessing asylum seeker children as adults. These wrong decisions have condemned some children to homelessness, prevented them from going to school and led to some being unlawfully held in adult detention centres.

Croydon in south London has paid out almost £1.2m in legal costs in cases where it made the wrong decisions about age-disputed children, according to data collected via Freedom of Information in a new report from Coram Children’s Legal Centre. The exact number of cases is not known but the council is thought to have been involved in hundreds of legal challenges.

By law, the Home Office cannot forcibly remove under-18s who claim asylum and local authorities are obliged to support them financially so it is in the interests of both to declare as many children as possible to be adults. In some instances, children come unaccompanied in the UK to claim asylum from conflict zones such as Afghanistan, Iran and Eritrea. Read more

Diane Taylor | The Guardian | 17th May 2013

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