Sharon Greene reports:
A case brought to the appeals court by an asylum seeker from Eritrea, has ruled that under the Children’s Act 2004 that Local Authorities now have a responsibility to ensure that when the welfare of a young person requires it accommodation should be made available.
Given the current climate this is a very welcomed ruling and will benefit all young people within the care system alongside assisting Asylum seekers and young people leaving custody. The Children’s Society was granted leave to intervene and highlighted the importance of supporting Young People as they leave care.
This is a breakthrough for children’s Rights Campaigners, but the news may not be as welcomed by Local Authorities as the cost of the result of this ruling could be very significant given the fact that these young people by law are excluded from mainstream social welfare and social housing.
Action for Children conducted a study in 2006 on Asylum Seekers examining their perspectives on their in care experience, preparation for leaving care alongside after care support. A number of issues were identified relating to the age at which unaccompanied asylum seekers left care, needs assessment and pathway planning, and assisting young people to acquire practical and financial skills. The young people in this study felt inadequately equipped for independence, especially with regard to financial responsibilities. The new ruling framework for Asylum Seekers leaving care is intended to support Young People with the transition from care to independent living, and this new legislative ruling is a breakthrough for all young people within the re system and is the way forward to a positive start to adult life.