Skip to main content

Consultation on the revised statutory guidance for local authorities on the care of unaccompanied asylum seeking and trafficked children

Government response

The statutory guidance on the care of unaccompanied asylum seeking and trafficked children was first published in 2014. Recent legislative changes such as the Modern Slavery Act 2015, policy developments such as the National Transfer Scheme for unaccompanied asylum seeking children and events around the recent migration crisis have meant that it was necessary to update the guidance to be of maximum use to local authorities.

The guidance was previously titled “Care of unaccompanied and trafficked children: Statutory guidance for local authorities on the care of unaccompanied asylum seeking and trafficked children”. Following the Modern Slavery Act 2015 the definition of “modern slavery” has been described as including human trafficking, slavery, servitude and forced and compulsory labour. The title and content of this statutory guidance has therefore been revised to use the same terminology and is now called ‘Care of unaccompanied migrant children and child victims of modern slavery: Statutory guidance for local authorities’. The original title did not take into account the number of non-asylum seeking non-citizen children in local authority care and so it has been revised to use the term “migrant children” to encompass asylum seeking and non-asylum seeking unaccompanied children from abroad.

Starting in summer 2016 we worked to revise the guidance with an Expert Reference Group comprising of local authorities with high numbers of unaccompanied children, the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, the Local Government Association, non-government organisations working with unaccompanied and trafficked children and other government departments. Over 90 individuals from over 30 organisations, plus numerous local authorities contributed during the pre-consultation stage. The guidance was then revised according to feedback from the Expert Reference Group, and that revised version was made publically available for consultation during March 2017.

During the public consultation period we asked whether any further additions or amendments were required and whether respondents had any suggestions for additional resources or links that could be included. 23 full responses were received including five from representative bodies. This document summarises the results of that consultation and sets out the government’s response.