The impact of detention

Return houses provide more freedom of movement to the families than detention centres. As long as an adult remains present inside the house, the others are allowed to leave. However, isolation in return houses is an important concern. Families are taken out of their usual living environment and on top of that, they are transferred from one language section in Belgium to the other.

Although this alternative form of detention for families is often referred to as a positive model, return houses are not sufficiently equipped to the specific needs of children. There is an urgent need for more initiatives with regard to education, leisure facilities, and support offered to parents in preparing their children for their return….

It is also recommended to develop the support to those families beyond that of the coach (return officer), whose intervention is often restricted to the cases of effective return in perspective.