Poor local authority planning is leaving bewildered child refugees without health checks and nursery education.
A research study published by the Refugee Council and Save the Children reveals a picture of inequality caused by lack of information, frequent moves between temporary addresses, unwelcoming services and unaffordable charges. Nurseries are among the local authority services that refugees use least.
Researchers found there was often no clear planning or co-ordination of services for asylum-seekers and refugee families in local authorities. They identified a need for improved consultation between early-years providers and community groups, better liaison between housing and social service departments so health visitors and early-years services can make home visits to families, and for information to be provided in more languages.
There are an estimated 65,000 refugee children in the UK, more than 80 per cent of them in Greater London. The largest numbers of recent arrivals are ethnic Albanians from Kosova, Eastern European Roma, Somalis, Kurds from Turkey and Iraq, Tamils and Colombians. Refugee parents are more likely to have children under the age of five than the UK population as a whole.
Refugee Children in the Early Years is available from the Refugee Council, 3 Bondway, London SW8 1SJ, price pound;4.30.