The Home Office has confirmed that there will be further to delays in ending the practice of detaining children with a new system now not expected to be in place until March 2011 at the earliest.
Speaking during the Conservative Party conference in early October, Immigration Minister Damian Green made assurances that the detention of children would be brought to an end by December 2010. However, the newly-released Home Office Business Plan for 2011 - 2015 reveals that the date has been pushed back again.
Following problems with an initial pilot scheme involving the deportation of failed asylum-seeking families without using detention, new systems will be piloted before the end of 2010. These systems of deportation are thought to involve voluntary organisations working with families in the community to make their own preparations for departures as well as methods to remove ‘non-compliant’ families.
A group of Labour, Liberal Democrat and Independent peers has condemned the delay. In a letter to the Guardian supported by the Children’s Society they have called for an immediate end to the practice of detaining children saying:Children are still being held in detention in spite of the clear evidence that this is harmful. We call upon the government now to fulfil the promise that it made to end the detention of children without further delay and to develop a more humane system for the treatment of families and children who are subject to immigration control.