Economic and Social Research Council
|Printable version||E-mail this to a friend|
More support needed for separated migrant children
Separated or unaccompanied migrant children only make up about three per cent of the wider care population, but numbers are likely to grow and their distinct needs must be recognised by authorities and foster carers, say researchers from the Rees Centre for Research in Fostering and Education at the University of Oxford.
Until fairly recently, most unaccompanied children arrived in Britain having been sent by their parents in search of a better education. "As such, many foster carers found these children to be relatively well-prepared for their separation, grateful for the opportunities being offered to them with the potential to make good progress," explains Professor Judy Sebba.
In contrast, a growing proportion of separated migrant children now arrive in Britain from conflict zones having experienced wide-ranging trauma including witnessing or experiencing torture or abuse. "Not only do these children arrive into foster care having managed difficult experiences, they then have to manage the multiple, and sometimes conflicting ways they are processed by the state where immigration concerns can take precedence over access to welfare," says Professor Sebba.
Further challenges range from language difficulties to uncertainty over the foster child's age. Very often foster carers must accept uncertainty, ambiguity, mistrust and silence as they care for separated teenagers who are frequently living with doubt about their futures and may have multiple reasons not to discuss their lives fully.
Fostering teenage children is challenging enough in ordinary circumstances, but training, support, as well as mentoring from foster parents with prior experience is likely to prove increasingly important for foster carers of unaccompanied children, say researchers. Nevertheless, a recent survey suggests that over three-quarters of foster carers felt the placement of a separated child was going 'very well' for them and for the young person in their care.
Professor Judy Sebba, University of Oxford
This article was published in the Summer 2016 issue of the Society Now magazine.
Latest News from
Economic and Social Research Council
Floods severely affect children and young people: it's time to stop ignoring their experience23/09/2016 14:25:00
Research with flood-affected children reveals serious impacts on wellbeing but also a desire to take on a role in flood risk management.
ESRC joins forces with the US's Rockefeller Foundation and NERC to achieve the UN's Global Goals21/09/2016 14:29:00
The UK's Economic and Social Research Council and Natural Environment Research Council have joined forces with the US's Rockefeller Foundation to support the United Nation's 17 Global Goals, which aim to eliminate poverty and hunger and help fight climate change over the next 15 years.
Festival of Social Science events programme published21/09/2016 11:15:00
Now in its fourteenth year, the ESRC Festival of Social Science includes debates, exhibitions, talks and performances and each year attracts over 25,000 attendees, including schoolchildren, young people, professionals, policymakers and members of the public.
UN Summit to hear new research on why refugees and migrants crossed the Mediterranean in 201519/09/2016 13:05:00
Participants at the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants this week will hear the findings of a ground-breaking research project, which has identified the reasons why refugees and migrants left their home countries to make the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean in 2015.