NIHRC submission: Department of Health consultation on proposals for a new regional model of service for separated and unaccompanied asylum seeking children in NI
Date produced July 2021.
Below is a summary of the recommendations.
You can also download the full document through the links provided.
The NI Human Rights Commission:
- 3.1.6 supports the proposal for a single Trust Based Central Hub with Dispersal Arrangements (Option 3) for the regional model of service for separated and unaccompanied asylum seeking children in Northern Ireland.
- 3.2.7 recommends that age assessments in Northern Ireland continue to be conducted by social workers operating within their established regulatory framework.
- 3.2.8 recommends that any changes to NI guidance on age assessments are compliant with UK caselaw and international standards and takes account of NI’s social work specialisms and Independent Guardian Scheme.
- 3.3.5 recommends that the Department of Health systematically collect and publish disaggregated data on the number of children seeking asylum, including those whose age is disputed.
- 3.3.7 recommends that the Department of Health provide periodic reports to the Health Committee on the operation of the service, in accordance with the best interests principle contained in the UNCRC.
- 3.4.4 recommends that rights-based, child-centred training is prioritised for all those in first contact roles with S/UASC. Training should be trauma-informed and include information on S/UASC’s likely journeys and experiences.
- 3.4.5 recommends that social workers and independent guardians should receive training on how to capture and record information on the best interests of S/UASC, including what information to share and how to ensure the voice of the child is adequately represented in plans and subsequent assessments.
- 3.4.8 recommends the Department of Health collaborates with the Department of Education to develop a community awareness education programme to assist S/UASC long-term settlement and integration into NI.
- 4.1.3 recommends that the NI Executive engages with the Home Office to affirm its commitment to the National Transfer Scheme.
- 5.1.2 recommends the development of a Standard Operating Procedure to provide clarity around specific roles and requirements; and establish transparent and effective cross-Departmental Ministerial accountability for the full and effective implementation of the services provided to S/UASC.