We strive for a world where the rights and well-being of all children are protected by ensuring access to high-quality, free legal assistance to navigate a complex immigration system. We also pursue systemic change by seeking to influence policy and practice affecting children impacted by UK immigration and nationality law.
There are over 215,000 undocumented children living in the UK today.University of Wolverhampton, 2020
Children in the UK with insecure immigration status are at the heart of what we do. With research suggesting that there are 215,000 undocumented children living in the UK, a number which, in the wake of Brexit, may be an underestimation, we will continue to support them on their path to British citizenship.
It’s estimated that half of the undocumented children in the UK were born here and most have been educated in the UK and speak English as their main language. However, all lack the security provided by British citizenship or, at least, secure immigration status.
This has practical, social and economic impacts and permeates their everyday lives. It affects family life, employment prospects, social networks, friendships, housing, access to medical help and justice. As they transition into adulthood these young people are excluded from work and higher education and may even be removed to a country they have never lived in or even visited.
It is our ambition to change this and create a world where every child has the opportunity to thrive.
As Kids in Need of Defense UK sets out into a new phase of its development we will use our learning and expertise to help a broader range of children impacted by the UK’s post-Brexit immigration laws and policies. In particular, we will seek to reunite separated children on the move in Europe who have family living in the UK.
Many of these children are fleeing war, exploitation, poverty, and other trauma in the Middle East, Africa, or Asia. Most are unaware or unable to access the protection and support for which they are eligible, including legal, health, housing, and education assistance. As a result, they are extremely vulnerable to violence, trafficking, exploitation, abuse, and other harm.