Elaine Chase, Abigail Knight and June Statham
The British Association for Adoption and Fostering
ISBN 978 1 905664 504
This slim, accessible, book discusses an in-depth study of the experiences of unaccompanied children and young people seeking asylum before, during and after their arrival in the UK.
The views of experienced professionals are discussed, but it is the poignant and powerful stories of the 54 young participants interviewed which prove compelling and enlightening reading.
I was struck by the descriptions of the long and arduous journeys to the UK and how, for many children, further losses and experiences of abuse while travelling exacerbate the emotional impact of trauma experienced at home.
Other chapters reveal the young people’s perspectives on the support offered by health and social care services, legal aid, the importance of education for building emotional resilience and positive and negative aspects of their experiences of care.
Despite examples of unsympathetic and insensitive treatment, many of these young people express joy, relief and gratitude to the UK for supporting them to feel safe and secure – a testimony to human resilience.
Helpful summaries are provided at the end of each chapter, which highlight implications for practice. I would recommend this as essential reading for all professionals and carers working in this field.
Lynn Baxter is a senior social work lecturer at the University of Greenwich