Lone children seeking asylum in Britain are confronted with a "culture of disbelief and suspicion" which leaves them frightened and confused, a charity warned on Friday.
The needs of youngsters fleeing war, violence and human rights abuses are not being met by the authorities, according to the Children's Society.
It said that the UK Border Agency (UKBA) is failing to make sure that children understand their situation in the asylum process.
The society added that the absence of child-friendly information, a widespread culture of disbelief and disputes over the ages of young people seeking asylum are causing confusion and a sense of insecurity.
In some cases the interpreter did not speak the correct dialect or language, misrepresenting what they had said and leaving them feeling their claim was unjustified, the report said.
And children who are already traumatised are made more anxious which could lead to long-term consequences for their well-being, the charity warned.
Chief executive Matthew Reed said: "The amount of confusion and anxiety expressed by the children we spoke to in the asylum process is very concerning.
"Although the UKBA has made some progress, there needs to be a fundamental shift in attitude in how they work with children fleeing danger who need our help.
"Instead of getting the care and support they need, these children are considered with suspicion."
The charity is calling for specialist training for interpreters who work with these children, an independent complaint and feedback system that children can easily understand, and an end to the the culture of disbelief.
A UKBA spokesperson said: "Work is already underway in many of the areas identified by the Children's Society but we will consider their report carefully."