Linda Fabiani MSP for East Kilbride has welcomed comments from Westminster’s Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) praising the innovative Scottish Guardianship Service, which supports vulnerable young asylum seekers. The service assigns a ‘guardian’ to each young person, who helps them navigate the asylum system, supporting them in rebuilding their lives in Scotland. The JCHR is responsible for considering human rights in the UK, and is recommending pilot projects in England and Wales to be modelled on the Scottish system.
“The praise for our Guardianship Service is welcome and should not be ignored by the UK Government. The committee has recognised the outstanding work being done to support some of the most vulnerable children and young people, the unaccompanied asylum seekers and trafficked children and young people.
“In the UK as a whole there were 1,200 children seeking asylum last year, with a further 2,150 unaccompanied migrant children being looked after in the care system. These young people need our help and support, which the Guardianship Service provides. The guardians are the advocates for the child, helping them with everything from building a social network to dealing with lawyers.
“I hope that the UK Government listens to its own committee and uses the Scottish Service as a model south of the border in order that vulnerable children can be supported and go on to live dignified lives as adults.”
Page 49 of the JCHR report on the Scottish Guardianship Service states: “We welcome the findings from the Scottish Guardianship Service, which demonstrate the value that a guardian can add for unaccompanied asylum seeking and trafficked children. We recommend that the Government commission pilots in England and Wales that builds upon and adapts the model of guardianship trialled in Scotland. The guardian should provide support in relation to the asylum and immigration process, support services and future planning, help children develop wider social networks, and ensure that children’s views are heard in all proceedings that affect them. The Government should evaluate the case for establishing a wider guardianship scheme throughout England and Wales once those pilot schemes are complete