Good and Bad Day for Asylum Seekers

Posted on April 12th, 2011

The Refugee Council claim that the government have cut 62% of their funding to front-line services. These reductions in funding will come into force in three months and hit many vulnerable children and young people. The Refugee Council state that the speed of the cut means that they are unable to adapt the services that they are able to offer service users. This could mean that children and their parents may not receive the support to accurately complete asylum forms, with the possible outcome of children being returned to countries that violate their Human Rights.  Another possibility for children and parents is that they become trapped in a situation leading them into poverty or homeless. A hidden consequence is that these children and adults can find themselves in the Court arena in care proceedings. These parents are asked to state how they are to provide for their children, without being able to apply for state benefit or access employment making securing housing extremely difficult.

Assessing these parents in community based parenting assessments requires the Independent Social Worker to be creative and imaginative. The Home Office’s complex decision making process does not take into consideration the timescales for children or the consequence of their actions.

A case brought before the Supreme Court stated that immigration authorities need to listen more to the views of children whose parents face deportation. The children born to ‘illegal immigrants’ have rights, as demonstrated by a Tanzanian woman whose asylum claim had failed whose 12 and 9 year old children were born to a British man and entitled to remain in the country. The Supreme Court upheld the mother’s appeal, allowing her to remain in the UK to care for her children even though she had a history of fraudulent asylum claims. The Court described the mother’s immigration history as ‘appalling’, but added that the children, whose father is British – ‘should not be held responsible for their parents’ shortcomings’.

The parents’ relationship needs to be established for a ‘significant’ period of time, although no exact time frame is stipulated. The assessments are more complex as parents often do not tell children that they are under threat of deportation. This creates as situation where our Independent Social Workers are to communicate with children through pictures, puppets and other direct work tools on a subject that their parents have not previously spoken about with them.  Avocet Independent Social Workers are aware of the rights of the child and are experienced in preparing immigration reports for Court. However, parents do need to help prepare children to answer some difficult questions that they might finding distressing, but need to be asked in order to address issues raised in letters of the instruction from the family’s legal representatives.

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