The policy document and guidelines Working Together to Safeguard Children 2012 envisage that all agencies work alongside each other to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people. As non-statutory social workers working within the voluntary sector we still have a vital role to play to ensure that children and young people are kept safe and that we act in their best interest.
Similarly, as social workers have a responsibility to work with children, young people and their families under Legislation such as the Children Act 1989; 2004, The UK Border Force Agency (UKBA) have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people under the age of 18 as outlined under the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009, s.55.
Our Social Work Team therefore often act as ‘Responsible Adults’ to assist children and young people or unaccompanied minors being detained or interviewed by the UK Border Force Agency (UKBA) to ensure that their best interests are upheld.
What is the role of a responsible adult
The role of a Responsible Adult is to ensure that the best interest of a child or young person is fully taken into account when being interviewed by UKBA or the police.
When and why do we we act as a responsible adult
- When Ports require a responsible adult, we as responsible adults ensure that the child or young person is treated fairly and that appropriate support is offered when needed.
- When a child or young person is under the age of 16 years old and needs to have their finger prints taken and there is no parent or carer present. This is in line with s.141 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
- When a child or young person is being interviewed by UKBA with regards to their Asylum Application. This is a requirement outlined by EU Asylum Procedures Directives.
- To guarantee the ‘quality’ of the information given by a child or young person on which UKBA may base decisions.