The Needs of London’s Asylum-Seeking Children

This project has been commissioned by London Councils. It is being co-funded by the London Innovation and Improvement Alliance [LIIA], London Councils and the Association of London Directors of Children's Services

Building on existing research with professionals, this research aims to capture the voice and experiences of young unaccompanied asylum seekers in London.

London Councils are looking to hear the views of young people to understand what changes and developments to the Asylum and UASC system are necessary to improve the wellbeing, protection and integration of young asylum seekers.

The research will be used to inform lobbying for central government concerning asylum, including suggested changes in policy and funding arrangements for young unaccompanied asylum seekers. We want to ensure that the wellbeing of children is at the heart of UASC policy.

Led by the University of Bedfordshire in partnership with The London School of Economics and South London Refugee Association the research has adopted a participatory approach to involving children and young people to fulfill the following:

Key aims of the research:

  • Identify the enablers and barriers to appropriate and effective support for young unaccompanied asylum seekers in the current UASC and Asylum system. This will involve drawing on the experiences of young asylum seekers who have been referred through the national transfer scheme (NTS) and have been mis-age assessed and placed in adult contingency hotels.
  • Use the voice and experiences of former UASC care leavers to set out what changes are needed to the Asylum and UASC system in order to ensure that UASC feel supported from reception to integration.
  • Develop policy asks for central government to improve the whole system from a child’s perspective. London Councils can support the selected researchers in producing these lobbying lines in the report based on the feedback/findings from the interviews with the unaccompanied young people.
  • Develop recommendations that set out what social care professionals and other partners can do to better support young asylum seekers, particularly regarding mental health.
  • Explore leadership opportunities for the young people that have participated in the research (for example, the chance for them to become peer researchers, to share their experiences via other platforms, or to join and lead youth forums).


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