The UK ended the routine detention of families with children in immigration removal centres in 2010, and enshrined this in law under the Immigration Act 2014. Children may be detained in family groups for removal in our pre-departure accommodation for up to 72 hours, extendable to a week with Ministerial approval. This provision is used sparingly and only after all other avenues have failed. Families with children may also be detained at the border pending a decision on whether they should be admitted to the country, or until the next available return flight if they are refused entry to the UK. There remain limited circumstances where unaccompanied children may be held under immigration powers at port for up to 24 hours, usually until they can be transferred into the care of social services.
Information on the number of children leaving detention and in the detention estate, is available in tables dt_09_q and dt_13_q of the detention tables in the latest release of ‘Immigration Statistics, year ending June 2019’.
The term 'deportations' refers to a legally-defined subset of returns which are enforced either following a criminal conviction or when it is judged that a person’s removal from the UK is conducive to the public good. Information on those deported is not separately available and therefore the published detention statistics refer to all enforced returns and voluntary departures.