Pilot project providing ‘one good adult’ for separated children seeking asylum is launched by Minister Fitzgerald

Posted On: July 6, 2012

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald TD, today (05/07/12) formally launches a pilot project to ensure that separated children in the asylum process have the support of ‘one good adult’. The Irish Refugee Council’s Independent Advocacy Pilot provides separated children with independent advocates who support them through the asylum process and aid their integration into Irish society.

Samantha Arnold, Children’s and Young Persons’ Officer with the Irish Refugee Council says: “Children who have had to leave their home country and become separated from their parents or guardians are exceptionally vulnerable and can be daunted by the asylum process.

“Recent research has underlined the importance of one reliable adult figure in a young person’s development.  This pilot project provides separated children with support and structure from a responsible, trusted adult who will guide them through what is a very lengthy and complicated process and help them to adapt to their new communities.”

The project matches separated children and aged out minors (from 18-23) with an advocate who provides guidance for the young person as they navigate the asylum process and facilitates the young person in linking in with local communities.  Above all the advocate is someone the young person can turn to for advice or just to talk.

Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance says: “Separated children are alone in Ireland without love, care and solidarity from their families.  This project provides them with a person who will walk with them every step of the way on their journey through the care and asylum process ensuring their best interests are taken into account and their voices are heard.  We are very proud to support this project, funded by The Body Shop Ireland.”

The pilot project is being rolled out through the Irish Refugee Council in Dublin;  Nasc, the Irish Immigrant Support Centre in Cork; Doras Luimní in Limerick; and the Integration & Support Unit in Waterford..

Financial support for this project is being provided by the One Foundation and also by the Children’s Rights Alliance through The Body Shop and ECPAT Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People campaign.

-ENDS-

Further information: 

Sharon Waters                                    085 8585 510 / sharon@irishrefugeecouncil.ie

 

NOTES

  • Irish Refugee Council CEO, Sue Conlan is available for interview.  Contact Sharon Waters at 085 8585 510
  • Separated children are children under the age of 18, who are outside of their country of nationality or, if stateless, outside his or her country of habitual residence and who is separated from both parents, or from his or her previous legal or customary primary caregiver. Separated children may be seeking asylum or may be in need of temporary protection or permission to remain in the State owing to their separation from their home and/or guardians.
  • Aged out minors are separated children who reach the age of 18 while still in the asylum process.
  • The Irish Refugee Council is Ireland’s only national NGO working for and on behalf of asylum seekers and refugees in Ireland.