Better housing for children is urged

The Scottish and UK governments must pay “urgent attention” to the lack of suitable accommodation for young asylum seekers arriving in Scotland, a major report claims.

Many unaccompanied children, especially those older than 16, are placed in bed and breakfast or hostels in parts of urban Scotland isolated by deprivation, the study for the Scottish Refugee Council finds.

Even when children are placed in more suitable housing, staff support at evenings and weekends is lacking.

The report says children’s experiences often depend on the availability of social work staff when they arrive. One child said she was so inspired by her social worker that she wanted to train as one, but others said they received inconsistent service.

The report recommends that every unaccompanied child should be allocated an independent guardian or adviser, who would help them access services. It also calls for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children to be eligible for the £30 weekly education maintenance allowance.

Services outside Glasgow must improve, it says, while the UK and Scottish governments need to issue clearer guidance over their respective powers on asylum. 

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