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.