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Date: 19 Oct 2006

Social Work guidelines to advise on dealing with asylum seeker children

Click here for the full booklet
UNISON - the union that represents social work staff, and BASW - the British Association of Social Workers will on Thursday (19 October),launch a guidance booklet aimed at social workers in Scotland. The booklet advises on the duties and responsibilities that social work staff have in dealing with the children of asylum-seekers.

A commitment was made by the UK Immigration Minister back in March to ensure that asylum-seeker's children would be assessed and each would have a lead professional appointed, plus immigration staff dealing with children would have to have enhanced disclosure checks.

These commitments have not yet been implemented, but pressure is continuing to be exerted by UNISON following a spate of recent 'dawn raids' by immigration officials outwith the agreed protocol. At least one of these raids has resulted in young children being separated from their parents and driven off by people who were strangers to them.

Authors of the booklet, Kate Ramsden and John Stevenson of UNISON, along with Ronnie Barnes of BASW, will formally launch this advice at a conference in Edinburgh on Thursday 19 October. The launch will take place at the UNISONScotland Stall at the conference exhibition at 12.45 pm (or immediately after the close of the conference morning session). It is being held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

You are invited to send a representative. Contact Mandy McDowall or Fiona Montgomery (UNISON) to let them know you are coming.

Kate Ramsden of UNISON said "We are concerned that immigration law compromises children's rights under Scottish law and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We hope this guide will support our members in ensuring wherever they can, that the welfare of the child is paramount. This is a guide for ethical practice and we will not be part of giving a humane face to inhumane practices like 'dawn raids'."

Ruth Stark of BASW said "Social Work is a discipline which is underpinned by principles and ethics. A key part of that is to advocate for people's rights within the UN Conventions."


For Further Information Please Contact: Kate Ramsden (UNISON) 07767 027 722(m) John Stevenson (UNISON) 07876 795 018(m) Ruth Stark (BASW) 07887 954 202(m) Fiona Montgomery (Information Dev Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) Mandy McDowall (Regional Organiser) 07903 846 427(m)

See the booklet at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/localgovt/socialwork