In England, social services departments have a duty to provide care and protection to unaccompanied asylum seeking children from the point they arrive in the country. In recent years, research studies have identified a number of practice and policy issues of concern regarding the social services response to unaccompanied children. This paper focuses on three broad issues that emerge from the literature. The paper explores research concerns associated with (i) the referral and assessment process, (ii) the use of the child welfare legislative framework, and (iii) a number of issues arising from the provision of placements and other support offered to unaccompanied children. The findings of the research reviewed demonstrate that there are indeed clear grounds for concern. However, this paper argues that the evidence base is relatively weak and that as a result we know very little about the nature and context of the social work response to this group of children and young people.
- child welfare
- social work
- unaccompanied asylum seeking children