Better Outcomes: The Way Forward; Improving the Care of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children
UK Home Office Border and Immigration Agency
London, England: UK Home Office Border and Immigration Agency
January 2008, 32 pages
Outlines five key reforms and an implementation timeline proposed by the United Kingdom's Border and Immigration Agency to balance the needs of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum while preventing abuse of the immigration system. The first reform places the safety of the unaccompanied immigrant children as the highest priority during the asylum process which includes a single case manager for every child, provides the creation of an alternative to the detention of children and families, and improving communication with the child. The second reform addresses the need to quickly identify victims of child trafficking and provide immediate support. The third reform directs efficient identification of local authorities to provide the asylum-seeking children with near-by specialists. Fourth, procedures must be outlined to consistently assess the age of asylum seekers to ensure that children and adults are processed separately. The final reform seeks to decrease the time to determine immigration status in order to plan for integration or early return to the country of origin. The timeline to enact the reforms aims for a spring 2008 deadline to update the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act of 2002 and preparation of the new specialist authority agencies, and by summer 2008 foresees the publication of the new age assessment guidelines, care planning guidance, and the operation of the specialist authority agencies. The last section reviews the comments of local authorities, leading nongovernmental humanitarian organizations, and charities that assist with asylum and child welfare issues on the proposed reforms.