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Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children Team

Coronavirus update

Subject to the ongoing situation, it's essential that we continue recruiting safely. Therefore, interviews and communication will be virtual wherever possible and this will be communicated to you directly by the hiring manager.

Please also expect that advert closing dates and interview dates may change as required. We still continue to welcome applications for our current roles and wish you the best of luck with your application.

We would welcome applications especially for our most critical roles to ensure we're supporting our residents

Surrey's Children's Services created a brand new specialist team the Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children Team, in response to the specific need here in Surrey. The County has seen an increase in the number of children coming into care, and also have a high number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. We know that these children can benefit from support tailored to their needs as unaccompanied asylum seekers and so we are providing a specialist service focussing on them. The team will work with unaccompanied asylum-seeking children across the four quadrants in Surrey.

Surrey hasn't had a team focussed solely on unaccompanied asylum-seeking children before and so it's an exciting time for social work in Surrey, and a great time to join. If you are interested in working with unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, Surrey is one of the few places in the country where you can specialise in this work.

The team consists of social workers, advanced social workers and team managers, working to achieve the best possible outcomes for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in Surrey. There is also a Care Leavers team for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children who are turning 18 and leave care, and the teams work together closely to ensure the best outcomes for young people.

The Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children's Team is based in Redhill but, unlike most of the children's teams within Surrey, the team works across all four of Surrey's quadrants. The Care Leavers team is based in Woking.

Join our team

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We're looking for social workers who are passionate, who are keen to work with unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, and who are willing to double up their skills and to learn.

We are looking for social workers who have an understanding of working with children from diverse backgrounds, the asylum process, Human Rights Assessments, working with the Home Office, working with children who are victims of modern day slavery and trafficking. In addition to having an understanding of the processes and the statutory requirements of children in care.

We are looking for social workers who have experience in these areas, but we also want to hear from social workers who may not have experience in these areas but are keen to learn and passionate about working in this area of specialism.

We have opportunities for learning and development, so any social workers who are interested in this and are keen to learn should apply now.

Case studies

Martin, aged 16, from Guinea

Martin (not his real name) is originally from Guinea in West Africa. He was physically abused in Guinea by his father, who has three wives and eleven children, and also prevented Martin from attending school. At the age of 16, Martin fled his home because of his father's abuse and travelled to Morocco. From there he journeyed through Spain to France, where he lived on the streets for four months. After being homeless in France, Martin came to the UK in a truck which arrived in Portsmouth

When Martin first arrived in the UK he spoke his local Guinean language and some French but little English. He had no family, friends or support network in the country and so there were real concerns about his welfare as he was at higher risk of being exploited. Martin felt isolated, he had difficulties with his mental health as well as worries about his immigration status and his future in a strange country.

Social workers in Surrey were assigned to support Martin. They had to simultaneously plan for three possible outcomes and provide the support required for each. They needed to plan for Martin's needs if he were to gain permanency in the UK, but they also needed to prepare him for the possibility that he would have to return to Guinea, or that he would be able to remain in the UK as an unaccompanied asylum-seeking child but without a grant of leave.

Martin was stressed and upset about his asylum claim. He had banged his head against a wall causing him to chip a tooth, and his social work team had concerns for his mental health. Martin's social worker suspected that he had been a victim of trafficking and at risk of modern slavery, and so worked closely with the Police to make a referral to National Referral Mechanism. The social work team put in place a care plan for him, with input from CAMHS, and Martin was placed in a long-term supported accommodation placement in Ashtead where he was stable and happy.

With the support of his social work team, and with the stability of his supported accommodation, Martin has grown in confidence. He loves school, is keen to succeed academically, and has a particular aptitude for languages. Martin has now taken GCSEs in English and Maths as well as A-Levels in Spanish and French. At the same time, he has also completed Level 2 and Level 3 Diplomas in Travel and Tourism at college. Martin's social workers also helped him through his asylum process during this time, accompanying him to meetings with his solicitor and helping him plan for the future. He has now received his 5 years Refugee Status to live in the UK and have recourse to public funds.

From the start Martin was very motivated academically and wanted to further his education. He is now in the process applying to study Business & Entrepreneurship at university. So far Martin has received 5 offers from universities and he's hoping to go to university in Portsmouth in September.

Despite arriving in the country with no support network and little to no English-language skills, with the help of his social work team Martin has developed into a healthy and intelligent young man. Now Martin has been empowered to develop his own skills and achieve greater independence. He is optimistic about the future and full of enthusiasm about starting his university course later this year.

Samuel, aged 16, from Eritrea

Samuel (not his real name) arrived in the UK from Eritrea when he was 16, and he speaks Tigrinya, the official language of Eritrea. He was placed in foster care but his first placement broke down as Samuel struggled to adapt to life in the UK. His second foster care placement was more successful. He built a good relationship with his foster carer, who connected with him and his culture, and he stayed there building his independence, until he moved into a one bedroom flat last September.

Samuel is now settled and has a high level of independence. He manages his affairs, paying his council tax and rent as well as his monthly bills and electricity. He is also enrolled on a course at Westminster City College, and commutes the hour journey there and back each day as he's committed to finishing his college science course.

Since arriving in the UK Samuel has developed into a highly intelligent and motivated young man. He has recently received four university offers and will be starting a course in Radiography in September.

Beth, aged 18, from Vietnam

Beth (not her real name) was trafficked to the UK from Vietnam. She had suffered abuse in her birth country which left her traumatised. She was distressed, had little understanding of English language, culture or customs, and was highly vulnerable so required a significant amount of support.

Her case workers had real concerns that Beth was vulnerable to exploitation and there was a high risk that she could be re-trafficked. She was disengaged from support services and very unstable, unable to settle in her accommodation.

The team of carers working with Beth put in place a comprehensive network of support to help her find her feet. She was referred through the National Referral Mechanism received additional support to safeguard her from being re-trafficked. There has been intensive coordination with the Police to make sure that Beth continues to be safe and is protected from becoming a victim of modern slavery.

Since she came to the UK Beth has developed in all areas. She has completed her studies in hairdressing at Canterbury college, and while at college she won a number of competitions for her artistic skills. Beth has also completed the KRAN (Kent refugee and Asylum network) courses and ESOL courses to assist her with her English language fluency.

With the help of her case worker, Beth has grown in confidence. She is able to speak up for herself and is much more more self-reliant, so that she's less at risk of exploitation. Beth now has a full-time job and is in her own permanent accommodation. She engages positively with the strong support network around her and is therefore no longer a high risk of being re-trafficked or a victim of modern slavery.