FERRET INVESTIGATION: Children’s commissioner calls for ‘urgent review’ of mother and baby unit

BY INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER Karin Goodwin in THE FERRET

Scotland’s Children and Young People’s Commissioner has written to the Home Office’s housing provider demanding it “urgently review” its Glasgow mother and baby unit for asylum seekers over fears it is harming children’s development.

The intervention of Bruce Adamson, which has been made using his statutory powers, comes as a coalition of charities, grassroots organisations, and legal experts across Glasgow launched a campaign – Freedom to Crawl. They are calling for the Home Office to close the “cramped and stressful” unit in the south of the city.

Dumbarton man Patrick Harvie, co-leader of the Scottish Greens, also claimed at First Minister’s questions that the rights of the young children and babies of asylum seekers in Scotland were being breached by the Home Office.

As previously reported by The Ferret, the mother and baby unit was opened by the Mears Group – which has a contract with the Home Office to provide housing in Glasgow – in January.

About 20 asylum-seeking women, who were either pregnant or had babies or toddlers under two were moved into small, cramped bedsits. They include a single bed, cot, basic kitchen area and tiny bathroom.

Some were moved from flats where they were settled in the community and did not understand where they were moving to or why. Two said they had been told by the housing provider that they were moving to one-bedroom flats.

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