Cordis Bright has recently completed an evaluation of the Greater London Authority (GLA) Children in Care with Immigration Needs Programme which launched in 2020. The programme aimed to formalise and embed partnership working between local authorities and organisations specialising in children’s immigration needs and to establish internal capacity, build specialism and create new systems that better meet the needs of migrant children and young people in care to access their citizenship and settlement rights. The programme consisted of three main strands of work:
- Grant funding three local authorities (Barnet, Ealing and Islington) and children’s immigration specialist organisations to implement a partnership model to identify and resolve children’s immigration and citizenship needs.
- Commissioning a pan-London resource for local authorities to access training and other necessary resources to build their capacity to identify and support children and young people in care with immigration and citizenship needs.
- Regular meetings of the three pilot local authorities and their chosen children’s specialist immigration advice provider, the pan-London training provider, GLA and evaluator to share progress to date and key learning.
This executive summary outlines the key findings of the evaluation.
It is accompanied by a separate full report (download below).
The evaluation found that a substantial proportion of children in care and care leavers are likely to have an immigration or citizenship need. The programme resulted in improvements in identifying and responding to these needs, largely by improving local authority staff confidence and skills. It also had a positive impact on children and young people’s wellbeing, and could be of financial benefit to local authorities, representing value for money in the short term as well as the potential for longer term-savings by identifying and resolving immigration and citizenships needs earlier.
The evaluation findings suggest that immigration and citizenship needs are likely to be best addressed by a programme that involves:
- A panel to audit cases, identify needs and coordinate next steps.
- Access to a specialist immigration provider with specific expertise in working with children and young people.
- Time and resources so that social workers can participate in training to improve their knowledge and understanding of immigration and citizenship needs.
For more information, please contact Suzie Clements or Colin Horswell.