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4.5 Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children


  1. Introduction
  2. Age Assessment
  3. Procedures

1. Introduction

1.1 An Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Child (UASC) is a child or young person under the age of eighteen who has been forced to leave their home country as a result of major conflict to escape human rights abuse. They will have no adult exercising Parental Responsibility for them, i.e. they have no parent, relative or guardian in the UK or the Isle of Man.

2. Age Assessment

2.1 Age is central to the assessment and affects the child’s rights to services and the response by agencies. In addition it is important to establish age so that services are age and developmentally appropriate.
2.2 Citizens of EU countries will have passport or ID card (usually both). Unaccompanied children very rarely have possession of any documents to confirm their identity or even to substantiate that they are a child. Their physical appearance may not necessarily reflect his/her age.
2.3 The assessment of age is a complex task, which often relies on professional judgement and discretion. Such assessment may be compounded by issues of disability. Moreover, many societies do not place a high level of importance upon age and it may also be calculated in different ways. Some young people may genuinely not know their age and this can be misread as lack of co-operation. Levels of competence in some areas or tasks may exceed or fall short of our expectations of a child of the same age in this country.

3. Procedures

3.1 A NARRATES should be carried out for every UASC referred.
3.2 Where there are concerns about the immigration status of any UASC, the Passport and Immigration Section of the Crown Division in the Chief Secretary’s Office should be contacted.
3.3 In the majority of cases this will lead to the UASC being Accommodated and, under the Children and Young Persons Act 2001, they are then required to be the subject of a LAC Plan.

Consideration should be given to providing services under Section 23 where accommodation is not required. Once UASC become accommodated children under Section 24, they are required to be the subject of a CLA Plan and, if over 16, a Pathway Plan. The plan must be based on this comprehensive assessment of their needs, taking account of the following dimensions:

  • Health (including mental health, such as whether post-traumatic support and counselling if needed);
  • Education - what has school meant to this child
  • Emotional and behavioural development;
  • Identity and age;
  • Family and social relationships;
  • Social presentation and skills;
  • Self-care skills, including the child’s understanding of the implications of their immigration status and the skills required to manage transitions.
3.5 The Department should provide services for the UASC on the basis of the above assessment, irrespective of their immigration status.
3.6 The procedures contained in this manual in relation to Looked After children will therefore apply.
3.7 Each Looked After Review must specifically consider their immigration status. Any uncertainties surrounding the UASC’s immigration status should be clarified, wherever possible, before his or her 18th birthday.