Social workers who feel the removal of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children from care by immigration officials is “unethical” should refuse to co-operate with the practice, the British Association of Social Workers has said.
Felicity Collier, chair of Basw’s ethics and standards board, has raised concerns over cases where social workers are told in advance by immigration officials that asylum-seeking children in care are being removed, but they are unable to tell the children or their carers.
She claimed children were being “rushed away with their belongings in a plastic bag, or with nothing” because they have no time to prepare for the removal.
Collier also said that as more social workers were co-located with immigration officers, they were under “increasing pressure” to co-operate with practices that “violated” the rights of children and young people.
Last week, Basw members at the association’s annual conference pledged to back social workers who found it necessary to refuse to co-operate when children were removed without notice or preparation.
Basw, which has more than 11,000 members, is currently responding to a Home Office paper on planning better outcomes and support for asylum-seeking children that was published in March.