The Danish government has decided that unaccompanied asylum-seekers aged 17 will in future no longer live in asylum centres for children.
Despite being considered underage in the eyes of the law, the 17-year-olds will be moved to asylum centres for adults as part of a move that has a financial motive.
“A deciding argument for the closure of asylum centres are their size, profitability and co-operation with other centres,” explained the Immigration Services, according to TV2 News.
The Immigration Services revealed there are about 700 underage and unaccompanied asylum-seekers at Denmark’s children centres – and 220 of them (about 32 percent) are 17 years old. Moving them will permit the state to close four children centres.
However, the children advocacy organisation Red Barnet has criticised the government’s plans, citing that at 17 they are still children according to Danish law and international conventions.
“It’s a really poor way to save money,” said Red Barnet’s national head Kirsten Lund Larsen.
“These children come with a very particular baggage, and they need to be at a children centre because they are kids, and are so until they turn 18. It is a very vulnerable age, and we know they need lots of support at that time. You are in no way ready as an adult when you are 17.”
Larsen maintained that the staff at the children centres were also specially equipped to comprehend how children react to trauma and crises and to protect them against new abuses.