Letter: Child emigrants

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The Independent Culture
Letter:

Child emigrants

Sir: In the early Fifties, my brother, then aged 10, was sent - alone - to Australia. When he and his mates finally arrived at a rural orphanage in outback New South Wales, they sat on the grass and wept. These scruffy, short-trousered kids had finally realised just how far they were from home.

That was the easy bit. Abuse, emotional deprivation and ill-conceived child management regimes followed. Many years later, thousands of these forgotten children have been struggling to search for their families - with precious little support from the British Government.

So, your half-page, half-hearted, tucked-away-at-the-back article (31 July) about the lamentable treatment of child migrants had me spluttering, "Too little far too late".

Undiscovered parents in the UK are dying now, and their lost children in Australia, New Zealand and Canada will lose the opportunity of reconciliation. Come on British Government, you've been aware of this issue for more than a decade. Don't waste more time. Start appropriate funding now. There is no time to lose.

MARGARET STEPHENS

London SE22

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