Recently the UK government announced new steps to help child refugees – particularly those who are alone.
Last year, 26,000 children arrived in Europe on their own, without a family to protect them.
These children have escaped poverty, war and persecution.
They’ve then faced a dangerous journey and an uncertain future – all in search of hope and safety.
We’re doing what we can to support these children, but we need the UK government to do more.
With your support, we called on the government to do more to help and protect these children who are incredibly vulnerable.
Children like 15-year-old Niaz* who travelled from Kabul with another family from Afghanistan.
“I have a twin sister back in Afghanistan. I cry all the time when I think about her,” he told our staff.
Thousands of you signed our petition asking the government to give a UK home to 3,000 of these children – those who are most in need.
And we’re pleased to say that it had an effect.
The government recognised the urgent need to help child refugees and said it’s going to do much more to help these children.
Here are the key things it’s said that it will do for child refugees, especially those without a family to look after them.
1. Reunite children with their families in Europe
It’s looking to reunite lone child refugees already in Europe with their families here in the UK. If the government does this, it could lead to thousands of children being given a safe and loving home.
2. Resettle children who are on their own in conflict zones
The government has said that it will look at resettling lone children from conflict zones to the UK. This could mean that many children won’t have to make the dangerous journey across the sea.
We hope this will include children not only from Syria, but also from other countries ravaged by conflict.
3. More resources to help protect children
It’s going to provide extra resources to make sure that children are safe as they arrive in Europe – particularly in Greece and Italy.
This includes providing people who have specialist skills to help keep children safe.
They’ve also said that they’ll do more to support lone children already in the UK.
Although the government hasn’t agreed to our call to resettle 3,000 lone children, these steps to protect vulnerable child refugees who are on their own will make a difference.
It will mean that thousands of children can live somewhere safe.
We’ll be watching carefully to make sure that the government follows through on what it has said it will do, but this announcement is a very welcome start.
We’ve teamed up with education publisher Pearson to give books to child refugees arriving here in the UK.
We’re asking the public to write welcome messages for these children, to be put in the front of each book.