Home Office recruits child experts to Family Returns Panel

Immigration Minister Damian Green has appointed child welfare experts as full members of a panel advising the government on the removal of families found to have no right to be in the UK.

Immigration Minister Damian Green

The Independent Family Returns Panel makes recommendations to the UK Border Agency on the best method of returning individual families to their home country, ensuring the specific welfare needs of children are met.

Mr. Damian Green appointed 11 panel members including the chair, Chris Spencer, a former director of Education and Children’s Services in the London Borough of Hillingdon.

Other panel members include former directors of local authority children’s services departments, members of Local Safeguarding Children Boards, a former head teacher and doctors who will be able to provide to professional medical advice.

“Our more humane approach to family returns places the welfare of children at the heart of the process and the Independent Family Returns Panel has a vital role to play,” Mr. Green said. “These appointments mean that our decisions will continue to be guided by a group which boasts an exceptional level of expertise, experience and dedication to the welfare of children.”

Mr. Green, who said that they take a compassionate approach to removal of families, adding that “individuals with no legal right to be in the UK must return home.”

Mr. Spencer said: “Once the decision has been taken that a family has no right to remain in the UK it is important that the plan to remove them reflects the children’s best interests and considers carefully any safeguarding issues.”