Presentation on theme: "D etention of children in the host country & their return Children and Families Across Borders (CFAB) Andy Elvin CEO."— Presentation transcript:
D etention of children in the host country & their return Children and Families Across Borders (CFAB) Andy Elvin CEO
CFAB’s Experience Ran Travel Assistance Program for Home Office from 1972 – 2012 Undertook over 2800 voluntary adult returns to over 100 countries including Iraq, DRC, Eritrea, Somalia and Iran Currently assist in UK AVR scheme CFAB closely involved in development of new Family Returns Scheme Assist in returning children through UK family court system (117 cases in 2013)
Children in the Immigration System Between 1999 and 2010 UK detained children as part of family units, often for over 6 months Unaccompanied children not detained unless age disputed Detention had very negative impact on children CFAB helped design new Family Returns Process Families now stay in community and children stay in school Independent panel oversees returns plans Short stay centre for those families who are subject to enforced deportation Greater use of Assisted Voluntary Return
Children in the Immigration System 2 When Immigration law and rights of children clash immigration often wins out In UK communication between immigration and family courts is not effective Childrens best interests treated differently in family and immigration courts In Family Court child’s best interest are the paramount consideration, in Immigration Court they are a consideration Children’s rights must always come first Unaccompanied children get leave to remain until 18
Placing children overseas In out of every 5 children born in London had at least 1 parent from overseas. Vital social workers obtain details of family overseas An increasing number of children looked after have relatives overseas, at least 4000 and possibly up to 10,000. All children have right to family overseas so all overseas relatives must be given proper consideration.
Issues in Placing overseas Evidence gathering – CFAB can procure assessments, early referral vital to meet 6 month UK target Differing social work assessment practice worldwide. Hague 1996 – potential limitations in kinship assessments. Differential practical implementation of Hague 1996 & Brussels IIa Issues with UK social workers travelling overseas. Relatives/options overseas can be discriminated against
Issues in Returning Children Separation anxiety Attachment disorders Even when reunited, if significant time apart then attachment and relationship issues present Issue of contact with parent or network in country of destination Older child’s wishes and feelings versus immigration law
Issues in Returning Children 2 Vital that situation child is returning to is sufficiently assessed. Situation will be different for each child so generic country information is insufficient Sometimes Home Office will not issue visas to extended family members to come to UK to collect relative child Returns process very stressful for children, vital that returns system is child centred Early decision vital whilst Childs contacts in country of origin are still viable
Practical placement issues Visa issues – US v. Australian model. Travel documents and Consular cooperation Mirror orders and gaining parental responsibility orders once child placed. Follow up visits.
Lack of Research Currently very little data on outcomes for children and families returned voluntarily or through enforced return Measuring outcomes vital to inform future policy CFAB initial research on children placed overseas through Care Proceedings shows 95% success rate
Best Interests Determination All children have right to family overseas so all overseas relatives must be given proper consideration. CFAB believe a joint Immigration/Family Court is ideal forum for decision making All separated/unaccompanied children from overseas who come to UK child protection attention should have BID made through this process within 6 months Outcome return to appropriate family member/care provider or Care Order to UK LA and ILR
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