Main Legislative Framework and Guidance
The Children Act 1989 places a responsibility upon Local Authorities to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people living in their area. When children in need are identified, an assessment of their needs should be undertaken.
A major factor for unaccompanied asylum seeking children is that the burden of proof is placed upon the applicant to evidence his or her asylum claim.
The Hillingdon Judgement and Local Authority Circular (2003) 13
All UASC should, on arrival, be supported under S20 of the Children Act 1989, until an assessment of needs has been completed.
- Based on assessed need, most UASC including 16 and 17 year olds who require accommodation should be provided with S20 support.
- The majority of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children will be entitled to leaving care services.
- S17 can be used to support Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children in exceptional circumstances where an assessment of needs identified that to become looked after would not be in the UASC’s best interests – for example if the young person strongly expresses aversion to becoming looked after.