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Destitute Immigrants in the UK are threatened with having children removed

Categories: Articles:Asylum & Refugees, Articles:Social Justice | Published: 13/06/2017 | Views: 1580

Homeless immigrants are being told they can secure housing for their children but not themselves, effectively forcing them to break up their family or sleep rough with their children.

Charities around the country working with people with no recourse to public funds have said they have encountered multiple cases in which people approaching local authorities for housing were told social services would accommodate the child but not the parent.

“It’s very widespread,” said Abi Brunswick, director of Project 17, a London-based organisation working with families who do not have access to mainstream welfare due to immigration problems. She said they had seen at least 11 families in eight different London boroughs in the last year who she says “were wrongly threatened with having their children taken into care”.

“In our view it’s a scare tactic to get families to disappear because they are so frightened of having their children taken into care and quite often it does work. People are so afraid of having their children taken away that they will put up with living in very substandard accommodation to avoid this perceived threat.”

Charities say that as a result some parents who would be entitled to housing and support are too afraid to go to the local authority for help, choosing instead to sleep in dangerous situations. Charities report families, often single mothers with children, sleeping in the corridor of an apartment block, on buses, or in overcrowded dwellings with other people, after social services refused to help them, and of at least two mothers who went into sex work to provide for their family after being turned away by their local authorities.

Legal experts say separating a child from its parents in this way, if there are no safeguarding concerns, is in breach of the Children’s Act.  Read the full Guardian article here
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