The Ombudsman for Children’s Office has consistently highlighted concerns regarding the situation of separated children seeking asylum at a national and international level, including with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
The OCO’s project with separated children involved the participation of 35 separated children living in the Dublin area.
Separated children are defined by the separated children in Europe Programme as “children under 18 years of age who are outside their country of origin and separated from both parents, or previous/legal customary primary care giver”.
The project ran from January 2009 to October 2009 and the young people worked on the project intensively during their summer holidays. The aim of the project was to better understand the lives and level of care afforded to separated children in Ireland by hearing directly from them. There were three principal outputs from the project: a guidebook compiled by the young people; a story book setting out their stories; and a project report.
Arising from our project with separated children, this report contains the OCO’s comments and recommendations.
We invited children and young people participating in the project to tell their stories. Some of them wrote their own stories. Others chose to work with a writer who wrote their words with them.
This guide book was compiled by separated children to assist other separated young people who were newly arrived in Dublin at the time.