Brexit & children’s rights

The European Children’s Rights Unit remains steadfast in its commitment to ensuring that the protection and promotion of children’s rights is at the forefront of the Brexit process, and that children have a voice in those debates.

A Brexit and children coalition

Members of ECRU are working closely with over 30 children's rights organisations, academics and practitioners across the UK as part of a Brexit and Children coalition. The coalition raises public awareness and briefs parliamentarians regarding the specific implications of Brexit for Children. Its activities have led directly to a series of proposals for amendment to the EU withdrawal bill, aimed at providing better protection for children as the UK prepares to leave the EU.

Read the report: Making Brexit Work for Children: the impact of Brexit on children and young people 

EU settlement scheme

ECRU is now focusing its efforts on ensuring that the EU settlement scheme - the new immigration process that all EU/EEA/Swiss nationals living in the Uk will have to go through - is implemented in a way that protects children. We are currently working with the Home Office to ensure that looked after children, Roma children, children with criminal convictions and children with disabilities have appropriate information, support and access to the EU settlement scheme before the deadline of 30 June 2021.

How do I apply to the EU Settlement Scheme graphic with blue children and a yellow speech bubble

We have also been working with Professor Kathryn Hollingsworth (Newcastle University) to draw attention to the ways in which the Scheme disadvantages children with criminal convictions. See our briefing paper:

How The New EU Settlement Scheme Potentially Disadvantages Children with Criminal Convictions


If you would like more information on the work of the Brexit and Children coalition, please email Professor Helen Stalford.


Brexit Research Briefings


Back to: Liverpool Law School

EU Roma Children and the EU Settled Status Scheme: Awareness, Access and Eligibility

Research Briefing by Helen Stalford and Dyfan Humphreys, September 2020

This briefing examines EU Roma children’s awareness of, access to and eligibility under the terms of the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), the new immigration status that enables migrants from the EEA/Swiss Member States to retain their EU free movement rights of residence and associated social and economic rights following the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union.

Public debates and initiatives relating to the impact of EUSS on children so far have almost entirely focused on looked after children. Whilst such initiatives are, of course, welcome, the distinct barriers to EUSS registration facing the EU Roma Community in general, and EU Roma children in particular, have barely featured in mainstream debates about the scheme.


EEA Children and British Citizenship: Why it is Important to Focus on Roma Children

Research Briefing by Helen Stalford and Dyfan Humphreys, September 2020

This briefing discusses EU Roma children’s awareness of, access to and eligibility for British citizenship. It is set against the backdrop of the UK’s official departure from the European Union on 31st January 2020, the end of the transitional period on 31st December 2020 (by which time the terms of the UK’s departure will have been agreed), and the deadline for registrations under the EU Settlement Scheme of 30th June 2021. EEA/Swiss nationals – adults and children alike - who migrated to the UK under EU free movement law risk becoming undocumented and being deported if they fail to register for this new immigration status by the deadline. It also responds to a perceptible failure by the Government to consider and facilitate the British citizenship rights of children affected by the EU Settlement scheme.

ECRU response to Call for Evidence for Further Inspection of the EU Settlement Scheme

Helen Stalford and the European Children's Rights Unit, August 2020

This evidence is informed by research conducted by members of the European Children’s Rights Unit relating to the impact of Brexit on children.

Our work directly informs and builds on recent research and campaigning efforts that have drawn attention to children’s potential to fall through the gaps when it comes to registration under the EUSS either because of a lack of awareness on the part of them, their parents or carers that that they need to be registered, or because of a lack of documentary evidence relating to nationality and residence which is required to meet the eligibility criteria.

Earlier Reports and Briefing Papers


Our children are being put at risk over Brexit – only a Final Say vote can protect their futures

The Independent Voices - Helen Stalford, Thursday 31 January 2019


How The New EU Settlement Scheme Potentially Disadvantages Children with Criminal Convictions

Briefing Paper by Kathryn Hollingsworth and Helen Stalford, 25 June 2019