‘Social workers must lead support for asylum-seeking families’

molly.garboden@rbi.co.uk Social workers should take over support for all children of asylum-seeking families, according to The Children's Society. In...

Social workers should take over support for all children of asylum-seeking families, according to The Children’s Society.

In its West Midlands Destitution Project, published this week, the charity outlines services it believes should be provided to these families.

One conclusion drawn in the report was that trained social work professionals were the only practitioners with the right experience and skills to make sure a child in this situation was visible, supported and safe.

Bob Reitemeier, chief executive of The Children’s Society, said: “This report is based on the hard, bitter experience of working with destitute families over the last year. Staff based at our projects say they are overwhelmed by the scale of the distress they are dealing with.

“We call on the new government to review these policies which are leaving children and families without financial support for years in some cases.”

The Children’s Society’s report said asylum-seeking families were left destitute by Britain’s “chaotic” asylum system. Overly complex legislation concerning available support and the prohibition of asylum seekers to work contribute to the hardship of these families.

Another issue highlighted in the report was the plight of women afraid to flee violence or abuse because of their immigration status. Some of the families The Children’s Society spoke to for the report said that, after running away from an abusive relationship, their immigration status became unclear because the necessary documents were in their ex-partner’s name.

Lone mothers also reported being left without child benefit because it had been paid in the father’s name.

The Children’s Society has called for a new approach to these issues, one underpinned by compassion.

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