European Union Committee
Children in crisis: unaccompanied migrant children in the EU

2nd Report of Session 2016-17 - published 26 July 2016 - HL Paper 34



Chapter 1: Introduction

The Committee’s inquiry

Chapter 2: Setting the scene

The scale of the problem

The impact of the refugee crisis on unaccompanied migrant

Key challenges specific to unaccompanied migrant children

The feasibility of an effective, common European approach

The ‘best interests principle’

Chapter 3: Four underlying problems

‘A culture of disbelief’

Age disputes

Family reunification

A culture of suspicion

Perceptions of degrees of vulnerability

‘Someone else’s problem’

Accepting responsibility

Demonstrating solidarity

Poor implementation

The Best Interests of the Child Principle

The Common European Asylum System (CEAS)

Family Reunification

The EU Action Plan on Unaccompanied Minors (2010–2014)

Loss of trust

Loss of trust in officialdom

Dysfunction: delays and frustration with processes

Chapter 4: Consequences

‘Deplorable conditions’

Material conditions and detention

Registration and identification

Provision of legal advice and information

Access to healthcare and education

‘Living in limbo’

Subsidiary protection and temporary leave to remain

Transition to adulthood: the prospect of return

Transition to adulthood: leaving care provisions

Increased vulnerability

Family reunification

10,000 missing children

Missing children in the EU

Missing children in the UK

Preventing disappearances: understanding the reasons for
children going missing

Discriminatory responses to missing unaccompanied migrant children

Cross-border cooperation

A lack of reliable and comparable data

Data on the movements of unaccompanied migrant children

Systematic collection, storage and sharing of data

Lack of appropriate disaggregation of existing data

Data on missing children

Chapter 5: The way forward

Integrated child protection systems

A new Action Plan on unaccompanied minors?

An integrated approach

Best interests of the child

Taking children’s views into account

Better data

Durable Solutions

Family Reunification



Guardianship as a means to restore trust and ensure continuity
of care

Benefits of an effective guardianship system

Elements of an effective guardianship system

Working together

Civil society

Coordination between Government departments

Local authorities

Solidarity among Member States

EU Agencies

Summary of Conclusions and Recommendations

Appendix 1: List of Members and Declaration of Interest

Appendix 2: List of Witnesses

Appendix 3: Call for Evidence

Appendix 4: Acronyms and Abbreviations

Appendix 5: Distribution of unaccompanied migrant children in England

Evidence is published online at and available for inspection at the Parliamentary Archives (020 7219 3074).

Q in footnotes refers to a question in oral evidence.

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