Aftercare and Asylum: Who is Responsible for Separated Children?

Human Rights in Ireland welcomes this guest post from Samantha Arnold. Samantha is the Children’s and Young Persons’ Office at the Irish Refugee Council.  She is the manager of the Independent Advocacy Pilot, a pilot that provides one-to-one support for separated children seeking asylum.  Click here to get involved or to attend an upcoming charity gig at the Village on 6th April.

Yesterday, 3 April 2013, Barnardos and the HSE launched research undertaken by Dr Muireann Ní Raghallaigh which looked to review and reflect on separated children in foster care and supported lodgings.  It is a welcomed report as it is the first of its kind reviewing a system that has been in place for just over 2 years.

Until the end of 2010, Separated children, or children who are outside of their country of origin and separated from their parents or guardians, were housed in large hostels.  The hostels were largely unsupervised and often children went missing, still to be untraced. Presently, however, the HSE works to ensure that separated children are placed in a foster family or supported lodgings arrangement as soon as possible.  This policy, titled ‘Equity of Care’, was established in response to widespread outcry over the way children were accommodated in the hostels prior to their closure in December 2010.  Under this new regime, the HSE works to provide separated children with care on a par with the wider care population made up of predominately Irish children.
In her report, ‘Foster Care and Supported Continue reading “Aftercare and Asylum: Who is Responsible for Separated Children?”

Aftercare and Asylum: Who is Responsible for Separated Children?

Foster care for separated children in Ireland: A positive policy development

Dr Muireann Ní Raghallaigh, Lecturer in Social Work at University College Dublin.

Over the past ten years or so, when we have heard about separated children, it has generally been in rather negative contexts: reports of inadequate services, of teenagers being accommodated in unsupervised hostels, of young people disappearing from the ‘care’ system, of concerns about trafficking and of deportations of ‘aged-out’ minors. Likewise, when the foster care system is discussed in the public sphere, the discussions are often quite negative. Indeed, very recently, foster carers got particularly bad press during the Children’s Rights Referendum.

It is only within the last two years, that the two ‘topics’ – separated children and foster carers – have really come together in any significant way. Until then very few separated children lived in foster care. The majority were cared for in unregulated hostels that were not staffed by professionals. This situation received ongoing criticism from numerous organisations, including the Irish Refugee Council. Over a number of years the HSE began closing hostels and moving separated children into family placements – foster care and supported lodgings. (Supported lodgings are a less intensive form of foster care designed for children aged 15 and over.). This change in policy was welcomed by a multitude of service providers and was seen as allowing separated children to be provided with care that equates with their Irish counterparts.

Over the last year, I undertook research on separated children in foster care/supported lodgings and had the privilege of being able to interview foster/supported lodgings carers, separated children and stakeholders. Having been involved in this field in various capacities for over a decade, it was heartening to learn that the new system, while not perfect, is working well for many separated children and for their carers.

Indeed, the interviews with the foster carers shed light on a group of individuals Continue reading “Foster care for separated children in Ireland: A positive policy development”

Foster care for separated children in Ireland: A positive policy development

Child Trafficking: Whose Problem to Solve? – Public Discussion

The Children’s Rights Alliance and Comhlámh are co-hosting a public discussion on child trafficking entitled “Child Trafficking – Whose Problem to Solve?” This forms part of the Children’s Rights Alliance’s work on The Body Shop‘s Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People campaign. The event will take place in Bewley’s Cafe Theatre, Grafton Street, Dublin 2 between 6.15pm and 7.45pm on Wednesday February 2, 2011.

Jillian van Turnhout, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, will chair the discussion. Guest speakers will include Muireann Ní Raghallaigh, Lecturer in the School of Applied Social Science, UCD and Albert Llussa, Solicitor who will use their expertise on immigration issues to debate the theme of the evening. This will be followed by an open Q&A session in which the audience is encouraged to get involved.

Tea and coffee will be provided and entrance is free. However, as space is limited admission for the public will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Child Trafficking: Whose Problem to Solve? – Public Discussion