A number of local authorities in the West Midlands have been supporting Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) for many years and have developed considerable expertise amongst their staff and have created training packages responsive to this need.
Other Local Authorities in the region with little experience of supporting UASC have been required to develop expertise in order to meet the demands and responsibilities resulting from Dublin III, The Dubs Amendment and the National Transfer Scheme.
In order to ensure that all local authority areas are able to contribute to the National Transfer Scheme and have confidence that staff are able to respond to legislative and statutory requirements for this group of children and young people.
There is a need to develop expertise quickly and thoroughly, which needs to be embedded across all children services, (education, health, public health and NHS, social care, housing and community safety).
The Region has been granted funding under Controlling Migration Fund of £1,975,000 up until 31 March 2019. This is in addition to £1.5m awarded to some individual authorities who are coordinating their activity with the activity funded by the regional pot. Every council area will benefit from this programme.
Using the fund we will:
Research the issues and interpretation of the statutory responsibilities as well as consideration for imminent legislative changes and statutory guidance
Address the knowledge gaps across the region and help achieve an equitable service for UASCs wherever they are placed in the West Midlands
Deliver a coordinated and cooperative working of children’s services and their partners across the region with a consistent expectation of the service these children and young people should receive
Provide preparation, monitoring, support and education of the host communities to allay fears and enable integration.
Apply a holistic approach to ensuring that these vulnerable children and young people receive a dignified and caring response that is solution focused
Address local concerns with regards to the communities they find themselves in
Develop a collaborative approach across all aspects of these children and young people’s journey; their safety; care; education; and health inequalities
Develop wider partnerships including the voluntary sector, health, education, housing and community safety to develop expertise in responding to this client group so there are advocates for them in the communities where they are settling into
Create bespoke packages at the local level to support those front-line colleagues with integrating our UASC into the care system and the communities they will be living in and agreed by local multi-agency teams
Create an information, advice and guidance web-page package to educate as wide an audience as possible, which will be regularly updated with the latest guidance and information
Develop targeted training aimed at those who are more directly involved i.e. social workers and children’s services support staff and their professional colleagues i.e. health, housing, education and community safety.
Provide mentoring aimed at those who are more directly involved i.e. social workers and children’s services support staff and their professional colleagues i.e. health, housing, education and community safety.