Press release: Bacik expresses concern at numbers of unaccompanied child asylum seekers missing from care
01 February 2010
BACIK EXPRESSES CONCERN AT NUMBERS OF UNACCOMPANIED CHILD ASYLUM SEEKERS MISSING FROM CARE
Senator Ivana Bacik
Labour Party Seanad Spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Law Reform
1st February 2010
Senator Ivana Bacik today expressed grave concern at HSE figures showing that a significant proportion of children in care who first entered the State as unaccompanied asylum seekers have gone missing.
Reports today suggest that more than 500 unaccompanied children seeking asylum in Ireland have gone missing from State care over the past ten years.
Noting that most of these children, once they have gone missing, have never been traced or located by the HSE or Gardai, Senator Bacik said:
“These figures are of grave concern, and show the need for greatly increased levels of co-operation between the HSE and the Gardai, in particular. One particular difficulty has been a lack of co-ordination between the Garda National Immigration Bureau and the HSE, so that far too many children have fallen out of the care system. The real worry is that these children are very vulnerable to being exploited or trafficked, once the State is unable to locate them. We have a duty of care to these children, and it is unacceptable that so many have gone missing over the past decade.”