The Regional Partnership Board Children’s Sub-Group focussed on young refugees and asylum seekers for their meeting on 16 December 2022.
The background information they received is available to download below. It includes an information pack, presentation and video about a campaign by a group of young activists to make sure young asylum seekers have an independent guardian to help them through the process of seeking asylum and settling in UK.
If you’d like more information about our approach, please see our Focus on children and young people blog post.
Reflections from the meeting
The group discussed the challenges and risks young people face when seeking asylum and settling in a new country. It has been difficult for organisations to properly prepare to welcome young asylum seekers and refugees to the area because of the current systems. Also, there are often not enough suitable foster placements in North Wales so unaccompanied young people have to move to other parts of the UK.
When talking about ways to improve the support available, the group wanted to make sure that the views and needs of young asylum seekers were at the centre of any changes and that we work closely with local voluntary organisations already providing support. This includes involving young people from a range of different countries as their experiences and needs may well be very different. They also though it was important to involve whole communities in this work and understand their views in order to help young people integrate well.
Independent guardians for young asylum seekers
The group wanted to explore how they could provide an independent guardian to support young asylum seekers. Having one person to support a young person through the asylum-seeking process and to settle into their new life seemed like a good way to address some of the challenges discussed. Someone independent from organisations already providing support, like the local councils, could better advocate for the needs of the young person. Ideally, this would be introduced across Wales and England so that organisations providing support can provide young asylum seekers with a guardian local to them and so that all young asylum seekers get the same support. Similar schemes are already available in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
- Work with The Children’s Society and local organisations supporting refugees and asylum seekers to explore the idea of providing independent guardians to support young asylum seekers in North Wales.
- Plan how to take a more strategic approach to preparing for the arrival of young asylum seekers and refugees and working with the Home Office.
- Share our findings with the North Wales Safeguarding Board and work together to help keep young asylum seekers and refugees safe.
What do you think?
Are you a young asylum seeker, refugee or someone who provides support for young people? Do you think these are good ideas and is there anything important we’ve missed? Do you have ideas for how we can fix things, and would you like to be involved in fixing them?
Please get in touch with Luned Yaxley if there’s anything else you’d like to share with us.
With thanks to Nick Andrews, from the Developing Evidence Enriched Practice (DEEP) project for sharing the Community of Enquiry approach which we used to facilitate the session.
Link to the video
Unaccompanied asylum seeking children: guidance for professionals. Social workers and foster carers can use these leaflets to help children seeking asylum.