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Wed, 02 Nov 22 10:00

Comment: National Age Assessment Board

Steve Crocker, ADCS President, said:

“Unaccompanied asylum seeking children are vulnerable, they arrive here in search of safety and deserve our compassion, help and support. However, there are too many cases where children are wrongly assessed as adults and, therefore, children do not always get the support they are entitled to. Conducting age assessments is complex work requiring specialist skills and is frequently the subject of legal challenge which local authorities are dealing with alone. The increasing numbers of children arriving in this country is placing pressure on our staff who are carrying out these checks and so the establishment of a new National Age Assessment Board (NAAB) will hopefully create some additional capacity in the system once it is up and running. A coordinated national approach should also help us capture best practice. Engagement with gateway local authorities will be key here as they have a lot of expertise in this area. However, we await further information from government about how the NAAB will link with excellent social work practice taking place in local authorities. It is important that the NAAB is driven by a child-centric approach and decisions are timely; whilst the age of an individual is unknown they should be supported and accommodated as a child. The care and best interests of asylum seeking children must be at the heart of all decisions made.”


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