Access to social care
Asylum seekers and refugees may need extra care or support, practical or emotional – to enable them lead active life and do the things they need to do every day -those things that we take for granted. Some of the many reasons why asylum seekers and refugees may need support are:
- Health issues
- Children in need
- No support
- Domestic violence
- Safeguarding issues
Social services’ duty of care includes assessing the needs of the separated young person. Social services should meet the assessment deadlines, as defined by the Department of Health guidance. In the assessment process, Social Services will determine whether the child’s needs fall under Section 17 or Section 20 of the Children Act 1989. This is very important, as it will determine the level of support provided not only up to, but also immediately after the child turns 18.
Section 17 supports – Children supported under Section 17 will not necessarily receive any services other than payment for subsistence and basic accommodation. This may be in a bed and breakfast or hostel. Section 17 is designed to support children where there is already a carer, and should not be used to support separated young people who have greater needs than this.
Section 20 support – Section 20 of the Children Act 1989 places a duty on a local authority to ‘look after’ a child if they appear to be in need, by providing him/her with services and accommodation. Children should be cared for under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989 throughout the assessment process as stated in Local Authority Circular (LAC (2003) 13) issued by the Department of Health in June 2003.
Other Asylum seekers who can be referred to social services for an assessment are:
- Elderly people
- Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons
- People with severe mental health issues
- People with HIV or AIDS (especially pregnant women or mothers with new born babies)
People seeking asylum can get information, advice and referrals for Community Care assessments through refugee advice agencies.
For asylum seekers who are receiving mental health services from Mersey Care NHS Trust, including those whose asylum claims have been refused, access to Community Care Services and Section 117 provision is through the Community Care Funding Panel and/or the Liverpool City Council Social Worker for ‘failed asylum seekers’.
Disabled asylum seekers and refugees can also borrow a wheelchair from Red Cross.