Access to social care
Asylum seekers and refugees may need extra care or support, practical or emotional, to enable them to lead an active life. 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
The 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 support – 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.
The NRPF Network is a network of local authorities and partner organisations focusing on the statutory response to migrants with care needs who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF).
Established in 2006, The NRPF Network has over 2,700 individual members representing local authorities, the voluntary sector, central government, the police and the NHS.
The NRPF Network operates under the auspices of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) and the Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS) Asylum Taskforce.