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BASW supports call to government for more funding to protect and promote the welfare of unaccompanied children seeking asylum

Unaccompanied children seeking asylum have endured separation from their families, horrific journeys across continents in the hands of agents, frequently suffered abuse on the journey, sometimes been trafficked and additionally exploited and have experienced the horrors of emotional and physical oppression and persecution in many forms. Social workers have a pivotal role to play in promoting the welfare of unaccompanied children seeking asylum ensuring a child focused relationship based approach to their work, completing high quality assessments focusing on the holistic assessment of individual needs of each child and by working in partnership with the separated children, the Home Office, universal and specialist services, local communities, refugee and faith based groups and all connected sector organisations.

We have international and domestic responsibilities underpinned by a legal framework of human rights to protect and promote the wellbeing and best interests of all children and young people including unaccompanied children seeking asylum. Local Authorities have statutory duties to assess and provide services to children deemed to be 'children in need' in their area and national and local government have legal duties to ensure children seeking asylum are provided with care, and access to high quality support and services that they so desperately need.

Separated children and young people are some of the most vulnerable in the care system with additional needs which require specialist knowledge and skills to address. These children deserve specialist high quality multi professional services. BASW acknowledges the huge strain on individual Local Authorities and calls on the government to respond to this humanitarian crisis and to ensure adequate services are funded and provided to meet the needs of these service users across the professional spectrum including care, heath, education and legal representation.