Personal Immigration

Funding cuts place refugee and migrant children at risk

A new report by the Coram Children’s Legal Centre has found that young refugees and migrants on their own in the UK are not being provided with the advice and representation they need, with significant consequences for their safety and future.

‘Navigating the System’, based on interviews with practitioners and cases from the Centre’s work with migrant children, finds that many of the legal and support services provided to this group are under strain, facing significant financial challenges and an uncertain future.

‘Separated’ children and young people include those who have been trafficked; those who are seeking asylum; those who have been separated from their family once in the UK; and those who are being privately fostered.

Without family, and forced to navigate highly complex administrative and judicial processes that will determine their future, they are reliant on the advice and support of professionals including lawyers in several different areas of law, social workers, key workers, support workers, foster carers, advocates and charity staff and volunteers. For some, the receipt of this advice and representation can mean the difference between life and death as they apply to the UK Border Agency to remain in the UK.

Often already facing discriminatory practice by public authorities, funding cuts have had a significant impact on services for this group, leading to the loss of specialist children’s services teams, fewer advocates, and increased strain on social workers. Charities and NGOs that offer advice and support are similarly suffering, with the refugee sector hit by some of the largest cuts. Around 50% of organisations surveyed for this report did not have future funding secured.

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