UNISON slams asylum policy

Social workers should not be forced to split families of asylum
seekers up, UNISON said today, writes Clare

The public sector union said it was unfair on social
workers to split families up by enforcing the “unjust policy” of
removing the children of asylum seekers whose claims have failed
should they refuse to leave the country voluntarily under Section 9
of the Asylum and Immigration Act.

“UNISON voiced strong opposition to Section 9 of the Act because it
puts social workers in the heartbreaking situation of being
expected to oversee the break up of families,” said Heather
Wakefield, head of local government at UNISON. “The threat of
removing children from the care of their parents should not be part
of the process.”

“Social workers normally try to keep families together unless
there is clear evidence that the children are at risk of harm.
Splitting up a caring family when they already face the anxiety of
deportation may cause emotional harm to the children and would be
contrary to the values by which we expect social care staff to
work,” she added.

The call from the union comes as the Sukula family are poised to
be the first test of the new legislation which provides for the
withdrawal of support for asylum seekers whose claims have

The family lost their appeal at the Asylum Support Adjudicators
last week and the family may be made homeless. Five of the six
children may then be placed in care and separated from their
parents and 18-year-old sister.

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