MiCLU and other advice agencies are taking inspiration from Angelina Jolie-Pitt and joining forces to offer legal support to vulnerable migrant children.
We are excited to be among a key group of advice agencies who will be working in collaboration to set up a ground-breaking pro bono project which will help vulnerable children secure citizenship rights.
Kids In Need of Defence (KIND) UK will be modelled on a similar American scheme, co-founded by UN refugee agency special envoy Angelina Jolie-Pitt, and the Microsoft Foundation in 2008.
KIND US has trained more than 13,000 American attorneys, to build a national network of lawyers able to represent children in immigration cases and is now supporting development of the UK scheme.
Speaking on BBC World on the Move Day on 16 May Angelina Jolie said she was pleased that KIND is now going to extend over to the UK.
Together with MiCLU, other partners in the scheme are: Central England Law Centre (CELC), Coram Children’s Legal Centre, and Legal Services Agency Glasgow.
KIND UK is still in its earliest stages, but aims to train commercial lawyers to step in and support children with immigration issues. It is working with a growing number of commercial firms who are interested in increasing their level of pro bono work.
The lawyers’ help is urgently needed as legal aid cuts have left large numbers of undocumented children unable to access legal advice. Many are either born in the UK or have spent most of their formative years here and could become British citizens, but are unable to do so without specialist legal advice. As a result they may be barred access to education or employment and face exploitation and destitution.