National legal network for immigrant children launched
Award-winning advice agencies have set up a pioneering pro bono project to help vulnerable children secure citizenship rights. Central England Law Centre (CELC), the Migrant and Refugee Children’s Legal Unit at Islington Law Centre, Coram Children’s Legal Centre, and Legal Services Agency Glasgow, have joined forces to launch Kids In Need of Defence (KIND) UK.
Modelled on a similar US scheme, KIND US, which was co-founded by actor and UN refugee agency special envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt and the Microsoft Corporation, it aims to build a national network of lawyers to represent children in immigration cases. The Microsoft Corporation, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and Unbound Philanthropy have pledged to fund the project for three years.
CELC’s chief executive, Sue Bent, said: ‘Legal aid cuts in this country have left thousands of undocumented children unable to access legal advice.’ Without the support of specialist lawyers, she warned, they ‘face a bleak future, blocked from full access to education or employment, and left at greater risk of abuse, destitution and exploitation’.