Aging Out

For the separated child, aging out of care, or reaching the age of 18, is a very scary time.  Separated children arrive in Ireland between the ages of 0 and 17.5.  However, the majority arrive when they are 16 and 17.

During the time that they spend as a minor, they are in the care of the HSE.  They have a social worker, a care plan and the beginnings of an aftercare plan.  They are often in foster placements or residential homes with 24 hour care staff support.

Separated children, when they approach 18, begin the transition to Direct Provision accommodation.  They are often dispersed to a new County.  They often lose contact with their families, their social workers, their aftercare workers, their schools, their support networks and their friends.  They are often forced to leave school early or changes schools.  They often have to change GPs and counsellors.

These young people find themselves in shared accommodation with no supports and living on very little.  These young people are at risk of being re-traumatised, exploited or even trafficked.

The Irish Refugee Council would like to see a change in this policy.  For more information on the relationship between the HSE and the Department of Justice in respect of these young people, please see: Aftercare and asylum: Who is responsible for separated children?

Please read AOM Newsletter Summer 2013 for a snap shot of what many separated children seeking asylum alone have to look forward to this June.

Additional links:

Aged out minors in Ireland: Who in the world loses everything when they turn 18? Separated children in Ireland

Aged out minors in Ireland – Lessons learned from past mistakes?

Foster Care and Supported Lodgings for Separated Asylum Seeking Young People in Ireland: The views of young people, carers and stakeholder