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Not just a temporary fix

The search for durable solutions for separated migrant children

This report explores the process, system and concept of identifying a ‘durable solution’ for separated children in England, looking at what exists in practice and what should improve. Based on existing guidance and research, this project has taken the definition of ‘durable solution’ to mean:

‘’A long-term and sustainable solution which ensures that the separated child is able to develop into adulthood in an environment which will meet his or her needs as well as fulfil his or her rights, not putting the child at risk of persecution or harm whilst also taking into account their views in accordance with their capacity’.

The European Commission has highlighted ‘the identification of a durable solution’ as one of the key areas of importance to help achieve a European-wide approach to the care of separated migrant children. The particular vulnerabilities of a separated migrant child mean that making sure they are provided with a durable solution is particularly important to make sure that these children’s needs, wishes and best interests are carefully considered and planned for as they develop into adults.Separated children, like adults, leave their countries for a number of reasons. Some travel to join their families who have previously migrated. Others flee war, civil unrest, natural disaster or persecution. Some children migrate in search of work, opportunity, education or an improved standard of living. Additionally, children may migrate unaccompanied to escape a difficult family or social environment. This can involve sexual or physical maltreatment or the prospect of forced marriage. Certain forms of persecution are specific to children and female children especially. Others may migrate to escape female genital mutilation, child marriage or conscription into formal or informal armed forces. Some separated children are also sent by their parents to pursue a better life, both for the child and their family.