Annual review 2017/2018

This was our first year as a registered charity. Here are the highlights. 

We are still an incredibly small team of practitioners, with a very small number of volunteers. We are operating on a shoestring as we work hard to grow, develop and attract further funding. Over the year, demand has exceeded our capacity, particularly in the area of assessment work and family support. We are celebrating towards the end of this year having received funding from Children in Need, which will greatly increase our capacity to deliver these vital projects to migrant children and young people. We have discovered during our first full year as a charity that there is great demand for the work that we do. We are incredibly proud of the outcomes that have been achieved in this first year and we feel they demonstrate the need and success of our project to date.

 

blockorange.PNG

459 hours of direct work with young people.

blockpurple.PNG

50 hours of advice given in outreach sessions.

blockorange.PNG

Over 100 families reached.

Our work and outcomes

 

Most recorded risks

Most recorded issues highlighted in our case management system.

Outcomes

Most recorded outcomes in case management system

Distance travelled (holistic outcomes measure)

We measure against 8 domains and take a snapshot at the point of referral / initial assessment and at the closure of our involvement with a family. graph shows % of families with a positive change against that domain.

Our outcomes this year

In terms of risks that our families present with destitution, extreme poverty and homelessness as a direct result of either NRPF conditions or not having leave to remain in the UK overwhelmingly account for it. We have had several cases in the past year that have featured safeguarding concerns including spiritual or possession based child abuse or risk of, female genital cutting and trafficking. We referred several families to first responders as part of the National Referral Mechanism for trafficking. It is worth noting that in some cases, the safeguarding risk was included in the case as a risk of return to country of origin or nationality.

In regards to our hard outcomes, improved child wellbeing was achieved via mentoring and youth work, provision of activity days and therapeutic opportunities, parenting support, regular visiting and referrals to other organisations. We supported several children, including unaccompanied minors to access education. Positive changes in regards to family's immigration matters was recorded in cases where we provided assessment or reports that contributed to that change in status.

Provision of local authority support for migrant children under S17 Children Act 1989 was and remains a huge issue in many of the families that we work with. In the period, we recorded 12 instances of street homelessness (8 of which were recorded as happening before our involvement with them). We have provided hotel accommodation and hardship payments in way of goods to meet basic needs of children where local authorities have refused to provide assistance. We have also dealt with refusals of asylum support and mainstream homelessness housing duty.

We have been involved in, or issued, 23 pre-action protocols against local authorities where standard advocacy has failed. We were also involved in a high court case which led to an interesting development of case law in relation to the on-going duty under S17 Children Act 1989.

Where families have obtained status and recourse to public funds, we have continued to work with them to establish themselves, give advice on entitlements and secure longer term housing. We have also supported many women with NRPF where fathers of children refuse to accept responsibility access the Child Maintenance Service and secure awards. 

The biggest impact was seen in the domains of community, society and citizenship and emotional health. This is likely due to the securing of accommodation for families or working with partner agencies to ensure positive resolution of destitution and street homelessness alongside securing education for unaccompanied children that we work with, ensuring children are attending school and linking families into universal community resources. In our citizenship domain, changes would include a change or acquisition of status or leave to remain or a change in conditions of their leave. Many families commented on the benefit of simply having someone to visit them and listen to them, reporting an improvement in their emotional health. 

Update from the directors

When we started this project we never imagined it growing so quickly. The project grew from a group of people meeting over in refugees camps in France providing support. When we successfully supported several young people make their way to the UK, we started to examine more closely the issues facing migrant children and young people in the UK. 

We have since done small amounts of awareness raising on news websites and on the radio, but our focus has been casework as we very quickly became aware of the demand for what we do. We have built some really successful working relationships with other organisations in the UK including Project 17, Refugees at Home and Hackney Migrant Centre, where since the summer of 2017 we have provided a monthly outreach.

Outreach is fast becoming a very successful way of reaching out and getting into the communities that we work with. Our plans for the next 12 months include extended our outreach and reaching out to other organisations to explore this method of partnership working. Ever since this project was even an idea, we have always had multi-agency partnership working as a central idea to this project, if it was ever to be successful. We have also started receiving referrals for support from Local Authorities around areas such as culturally sensitive support and specialist knowledge in regards to safeguarding migrant children. We have offered consultations for practitioners and advisers, including MP caseworkers, Citizens Advice and other organisations seeking extra guidance and support.

We have been keen to challenge poor practice in local authorities and have worked with other organisations to do this. Central to this approach has been our practice values and commitment to rights based practice, to ensure that children and young people receive services and support that meets their needs, promotes their belonging and supports them to develop their identity. Destitution and street homelessness has a devastating impact on children and their ongoing development, which is why it is not only shocking to see so much of it at such a scale, but is a key part of securing these rights.

Educational and play opportunities have also been of central importance in our development, through activity days, supporting children in education and providing activities that otherwise, oppression and destitution may preclude them from. 

We have established, we feel, a very strong base on which to build on and have used this first year to really clarify our aims, values and practice principles, as well as making decisions on what our projects should look like going forwards. Key to our plan ahead is participation at every level of the children, young people and the families that we work with as well as continuing to build strong partnerships and relationships with other organisations. We are committed to supporting families in the longer term, past initial crisis and support and working with them long term to support them emotionally, but also in building better networks of support and supporting families to thrive. We are honoured and delighted to be part of a strong migrant rights movement and hope to continue to bring our specialist skills as children's practitioners to the table.

Nick Watts and Jane Goldsmid - Directors

Update from the chair of trustees

This end of year report is not just a testimony to the hard work of those who have supported some of most vulnerable members of society. It is a celebration of the charity’s success. The biggest achievement during the year is that the charity has significantly grown to develop a range of services to meet some of the needs of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. We have achieved our initial modest targets in what is a very difficult climate. The expertise of the team has meant we have been able to provide a specialist service around Family support, including assessments to challenge various injustices. Excellent partnership working has included migrant organisations, some local authorities, children's centres, schools, other charities and universal services. As a result, we have significantly raised our profile to reach more families. We honed our expertise and developed links with other professionals to further support those with whom we work.  

Our finances have significantly increased through fundraising, donations and grant applications. This enabled us to create a hardship fund to support families. The Children in Need funding will secure a larger capacity for casework and support for families.

The charity is ambitious and committed to continual evolution to be the best we can in meeting the needs of those with whom we work, and in supporting our team and volunteers. In view of this, we have targets for the current year based on the keen identification of the area of needs based on sensitive reflection and review of practices. For example, we wish to include more people with lived experience at every level of our organisation. Our current management committee does not yet fully represent our client base, which is something we are keen to address in the coming year. However, we are united in a passionate belief that democracy must defend the most vulnerable in society and we must celebrate culture and diversity. The Trustees wish to acknowledge and give thanks to donors and funders that enable the charity to deliver the services. We acknowledge and congratulate the work of partner agencies in assisting the charity to deliver positive outcomes for users. The trustees also acknowledge the hard work of the team and volunteers in their practice. 

Vicky Weir, Chair of Trustees

Family feedback

blockpurple.PNG

95% of families we work with reported feeling more positive about their life in the UK.

blockorange.PNG

100% of the families we work with reported feeling more positive about the future.

blockpurple.PNG

70% of the families we work with reported being better able to meet their children's needs.

Taken from feedback surveys of families at point of closing our involvement with them.

 

Practitioner and adviser feedback

A very child focused and creative approach to working with families. Offered a level of service and intervention that was beyond my role in terms of time that could be afforded to the family and scope of work carried out.
— Local Authority Social Worker
Provided a report at very short notice for a client who was at risk of imminent removal, client and daughter were granted status, with recourse to public funds and report was instrumental in the result. Very beneficial that you work with clients after the report. In this case you provided long term support for the client’s child and helped to access benefits - unique and fantastic service.
— Solicitor
Being able to assist a family in preparing for different possible outcomes and ensuring that support is put in place for each scenario. Despite families being in difficult situations and potentially facing devastating consequences from immigration control, having this support means they are able to navigate these with approachable and expert guidance.
— Children's Centre Practitioner