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Working with Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Young People

Best Practice when Working with Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Young People

The new Immigration Act 2016 received Royal Assent on 12 May 2016. One of the new changes brought in by this Act is the introduction of a National Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) Transfer Protocol which became effective as of the 1st July 2016. Under this Protocol, Local Authorities whose UASC population in comparison to child population is below 0.07% will be expected to receive a quota of UASC young people from Local Authorities whose UASC population in comparison to child population is over 0.07%.

In preparation for the full implementation of the Transfer Protocol, ENTRAIDE is offering consultancy/ training to Children’s Social Services to enable them to effectively support all Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children under their care. This includes reviewing Children’s Services Policies and Procedures in relation to UASC, training on how to work with asylum seeking young people (planning accommodation and support, working with interpreters), Age Assessment, Trafficking Assessment, Triple Planning, Education Needs Assessment, etc.

Training and Consultancy will be delivered by suitably qualified and experienced practitioners including Helen Guizani, Mike Ray and Felix Kupay.

Helen Guizani has been a qualified social worker since 2004. She initially worked in child protection, and since 2007 has worked with Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children and care leavers. Since 2009, Helen has been in the role of an Assistant Team Manager. In addition to her role of Assistant Team Manager, she is also Children’s Services Prevent Lead, and lead for FGM. Helen graduated from Warwick University with an MA in Social Work (2004) and an MA in Leadership and Management in Health and Social Care (2012).

Helen has extensive experience of meeting the complex needs of unaccompanied children and care leavers, having a detailed understanding of the asylum process and implications for entitlements and future care planning. She also has significant experience of undertaking Merton Compliant Age Assessments, Triple Planning and Trafficking Assessments. In her role, she has also successfully defended the Local Authority against a range of Judicial Reviews, including the Malik Judgement (2012) and the Nfuni Judgement (2013), and has prevented a number of other potential challenges from reaching Court. Helen has taken the lead role in developing a range of internal procedures relating to work with unaccompanied children, including support to care leavers who become Appeal Rights Exhausted, young people liable for removal from the UK, Dublin III Regulations, as well as writing Solihull’s LSCB FGM procedures, and procedure for working with Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children.

As Children’s Services Prevent Lead, Helen delivers training on the Government’s Prevent Strategy, and is the first point of contact within the organisation for case discussions relating to individuals who may be at risk of radicalisation or involved in terrorism, and also sits on Channel Panels.

Mike Ray has worked with unaccompanied children and care leavers since 2005, and has been a qualified Social Worker since 2008. Since 2015, he has been a Senior Social Worker in the Child Asylum and 16+ Team within Solihull. Mike has a Degree in Social Work (BA Hons) obtained in 2008, and holds the Post Qualifying Consolidation Award obtained in 2010 from Warwick University, and Enabling Others Practice Educator/Supervisor obtained in 2012 from Bournemouth University. He has over eight years’ experience of undertaking Merton Compliant Age Assessments. He has a specialist role within the Local Authority in child trafficking and safeguarding of trafficked children. Mike also sits on the local area Panel for the Protection of Trafficked Children, alongside other Local Authorities, Police and NGO’s. Mike delivers training on trafficking and the NRM process. He has extensive knowledge on best practice when working with unaccompanied minors, including working with interpreters and people whose first language is not English, working with children and young people who are suffering from PTSD and cultural bereavement, as well as the asylum process from arrival to tribunal. Mike has significant experience of triple planning and supporting care leavers. In addition, he has extensive knowledge regarding country of origin information, religion and political make up of countries and areas.

Felix Kupay has been the Accommodation Officer for Solihull Child Asylum and 16+ Team since 2010. He holds an MA in Social Policy and an MSc. in International Development from the University of Birmingham. Felix is the Founder and Chair of ENTRAIDE (Mutul Aid). He has an extensive knowledge of the Asylum Process as well as commissioning accommodation and support for asylum seekers and refugees in the UK. Felix wrote his MA in Social Policy’s dissertation on “Transition, Agency and Integration: the Experiences of Congolese refugees in the West Midlands”.

Training on Offer 

Course 1: Introduction to Working with Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Young People

 Course Aims: 

 This is an introductory course for all those who are involved in working with or supporting unaccompanied asylum seeking children and care leavers, including managers, social workers, personal advisors, support workers, independent reviewing officers and foster carers. The course covers law, policy and processes affecting asylum-seeking children and young people, focusing on unaccompanied children who are looked after and care leavers. Participants will gain an understanding of these children’s particular needs and vulnerabilities as well as a practical understanding of how to support them across different areas: the asylum and immigration system, trafficking, age assessment, care and support including transition at 18 and 21, and access to education.

 Learning Outcomes:  

  1. To become familiar with who is an unaccompanied asylum seeking child, and the ways that they may come to the attention of the Local Authority;
  2. To consider immediate safeguarding issues when responding to unaccompanied children, including issues around trafficking, concerns about possible exposure to radicalisation and age disputes;
  3. Assessment process and considerations when completing Social Work Assessment’s, Age Assessments and Trafficking Assessments;
  4. Care planning for unaccompanied children, including placement options, health needs, religious and cultural considerations;
  5. Understanding the asylum process, access to legal representation and possible outcomes and implications for Care/Triple Pathway Planning.

 Course 2: Age Assessment

 Course Aims:

This course is for all those who are involved in working with or supporting unaccompanied asylum seeking children who will be involved in undertaking, or overseeing the completion of age assessments. Participants will gain an understanding of the relevant guidance and case law required to equip social workers to make lawful, fair and sensitive age assessments. The course will offer practical advice on preparing for, and conducting age assessments, as well as a range of useful resources covering issues such as trafficking, trauma and memory, to ensure that social workers have the tools they need to make sure that children who require protection receive it.

Learning Outcomes: 

  1. To understand why age is an issue and become familiar with the legal context for age assessment;
  2. To increase awareness of recent guidance in relation to completing age assessments;
  3. To consider how to undertake a lawful age assessment;
  4. To become more familiar with analysis of information gathered;
  5. To gain greater awareness of the issues that may arise as a consequence of age assessment;
  6. To become familiar with what to do with a completed age assessment.

Course 3: Trafficking Assessment

Course Aims:

This course is for all those who are involved in working with or supporting unaccompanied asylum seeking children, and aims to develop good practice in safeguarding children in line with statutory guidance, with a particular focus on safeguarding children from child trafficking. Participants will gain knowledge to support them to recognise and understand the particular issues faced by this group of young people, which will include recognising the indicators of trafficking, and an understanding of how the child’s experiences and vulnerabilities impact on assessment, care planning and delivery. Awareness of the wider child protection system around trafficked children, including how and when to refer a child to the National Referral Mechanism, and what detail to include in any referral will be explored.

Learning Outcomes: 

  1. To understand what trafficking is;
  2. To become familiar with tools in assessing whether a child is a victim of trafficking;
  3. To consider how to respond when trafficking is suspected or identified;
  4. To increase awareness of the statutory guidance and procedures;
  5. To understand how to access specialist legal advice and representation;
  6. To gain knowledge of national resources;
  7. To identify how and when to refer a child to the National Referral Mechanism.

Course 4: Triple Planning

Course Aims: 

This course is for all those who are involved in working with or supporting unaccompanied asylum seeking children and care leavers, including managers, social workers, personal advisors, support workers, independent reviewing officers and foster carers, who will be involved in undertaking needs assessments and pathway planning. The course covers relevant legislation and best practice, and will explore the implications of the introduction of the Immigration Act 2016. Participants gain an understanding of how to plan for the three possible outcomes for those with uncertain immigration status beyond the age of 18, including considerations when undertaking lawful assessments of educational need, and best practice when preparing young people for return to country of origin.

Learning Outcomes:  

  1. To consider the challenges and issues facing care leavers, including education and preparation for independent living;
  2. To address the care needs of unaccompanied young people in the context of the wider asylum and immigration legislation, and how these needs change over time;
  3. To explore the impact of immigration status on access to public funds at 18, including benefits and accommodation;
  4. To understand how to undertake lawful assessments of educational need which comply with the Kebede Judgement (2013) and the Nfuni Judgement (2013);
  5. To explore Local Authority responsibilities for paying legal fees for young people unable to access legal aid to regularise immigration status;
  6. To consider contingencies for durable and best interest plans for young people who are likely to return to their country of origin.

For more information, please contact Felix Kupay on 07948602313 or email: