Refugee Week takes place on 17-23 June and serves as a reminder that young refugees are among the most vulnerable children and young people in society. Even when Children’s Services take these young people into their care, sometimes important aspects of their support needs are overlooked, such as access to asylum and immigration legal advice, planning ahead to achieve settled immigration status, support to overcome past trauma, and accessing education and health services.
Refugee and migrant children are also sometimes moved across the country against their wishes once they have started to feel settled into the area they first arrived in.
There are great foster carers and social care professionals out there helping these young people, but sometimes things go wrong or young people need extra help to understand what is going on and to speak out. That’s where an advocate can help by working one to one with young people to help them to understand their rights and empower them to speak out about the things that are important to them.
Sadly, all too many young refugees miss out on the support they should have from Children’s Services when they are assessed to be over 18. Children are often under-supported during age assessment processes they do not understand and do not know that they have the right to challenge an adverse assessment. Again that’s where advocates can help to ensure that assessments are conducted appropriately and children are supported to challenge Children’s Services when mistakes are made.
Coram Voice’s Always Heard service focuses on making sure that all young refugees needing support from Children’s Services are able to access independent advocacy. Because of language and cultural barriers, disputed care status and age, and the complexities of their circumstances these young people are often unable to access the advocacy support available to other children in care. Always Heard addresses this problem by guaranteeing that all young refugees in care, or needing support from Children’s Services, who contact us will get advocacy support.
Young refugees (and those working with them) can contact us free on:
Freephone: 0808 800 5792
Text and Whatsapp: 07758670369
We have access to interpretation in over 240 languages from the LanguageLine service.
The Always Heard team has been working with Coram Children’s Legal Centre’s Migrant Children’s Project and other refugee support organisations to reach out to refugee and migrant children and make sure that they all have access to the advocacy support they need.