Children England is dismayed by the government’s decision to break its promise of sanctuary for thousands more refugee children in Europe who need our help. It is not difficult to imagine the distress of these children, bearing the loss and trauma of being wrenched from their homes and loved ones, finding themselves alone in a strange country without a safe home or a caring adult, and with no idea where they might be sent or taken next. MPs of all parties demonstrated their understanding of this when they voted on the Dubs amendment last year. It is therefore inhumane that the Home Secretary should view the promise to offer them a safe home as 'incentivisation' to other vulnerable displaced children, who should be deterred from 'becoming' refugees. 

What is really at issue here is not the 'pull factor' Ms Rudd believes the Dubs Scheme exerts on refugee children, or the willingness of UK councils to offer them care and shelter (as we know so many are committed to do), but the failure of central government to provide close-to-breaking-point councils with adequate resources to look after all children in need of our care and protection – whether those children are at risk here in Britain or beyond our shores.

When adults break their promises to children, children learn to distrust the words we say. When a nation breaks a promise to care for children, to keep them safe, and instead leaves them at risk and in danger simply to 'send a message' to others, it is an unforgivable betrayal.