General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

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Data gap on NI newcomer children


BBC News

The NI Commissioner for Children and Young People has warned that the government needs accurate data on vulnerable children coming to NI.

Lack of data makes it "very difficult" to provide suitable support, according to Patricia Lewsley.

She said newcomer children, who may be refugees or from asylum seeking families can be more vulnerable to exploitation, abuse and poor education.

Unofficial figures suggest the number of these children is increasing.

The Commissioner said there is no single body responsible for gathering information on newcomer children in NI.

She welcomed the commitment given in the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition Agreement on ending the detention of asylum-seeking and refugee children, but also expressed concern.

"There is no mention of families in the statement, leaving wide open the possibility that families could be split up, damaging children's welfare and wellbeing", she said.



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