18 February 2022

Research finds one in 10 children in care have unresolved immigration issues

Research finds one in 10 children in care have unresolved immigration issues image
Image: fizkes / Shutterstock.com

At least one in every 10 children in the care system have unresolved immigration or citizenship issues, a new report has found.

The South London Refugee Association and Coram Children’s Legal Centre also found more than 10,000 young care leavers in England face uncertain and unsafe futures unless their immigration status are resolved.

The charities warned the problem could be worse than it seems as 41 local authorities had missing or incomplete data on the immigration status of children in their care.

The report also found that local authorities delaying early immigration support for children in care can also lead to spiraling costs of up to £130,000 once the child leaves care, against the £1,012 cost of a child citizenship application.

Keeley Creedy, head of community care law at Coram Children’s Legal Centre, said: 'Helping to resolve looked after children’s immigration and nationality issues is a critical part of a local authority’s corporate parenting duties.

'The good news is that taking steps to resolve looked-after children’s immigration issues early is a win-win: it is much less costly for local authorities and is in the best interests of the child.'

The charities are urging local authorities to sign a pledge, committing them to identify all looked-after children and care leavers with immigration and nationality issues, connect looked-after children and care leavers with good quality legal support, and take a proactive and informed role in supporting looked after children and care leavers through any immigration applications and appeals.

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