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ADCS Age Assessment Guidance

Guidance to assist social workers and their managers in undertaking age assessments in England

The age assessment of unaccompanied children seeking asylum is a controversial subject. ADCS (The Association of Directors of Children’s Services) has created guidance for social workers to follow.

BASW’s Policy, Ethics and Human Rights Committee (PEHR) has consistently challenged the approach taken in the ADCS guidance on the grounds that social workers should not be asked to undertake a task that is not possible. BASW’s PEHR believes the only ethical way forward is for all professionals to pool their knowledge and recognise they can only approximate, rather than assess, age.

In November 2015 the British Dental Association (BDA) also voiced its opposition to the use of dental x-rays to determine the age of asylum seekers, saying: “Not only is this is an inaccurate method for assessing age, but we also believe that it is inappropriate and unethical to take radiographs of people when there is no health benefit for them.”