Seven: ‘Durable solutions’ when turning 18


The chapter considers the life options open to unaccompanied asylum-seeking children who have sought asylum alone and have reached the legal definition of adulthood in their country of residence. In such situations, most young people will have a limited range of opportunities open to them. The chapter considers how the UNHCR’s ‘durable solutions’ and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child have been understood in relation to young asylum seekers and refugees, and the often uncomfortable classification of children within political asylum frameworks. It reviews how social workers and other advocates have approached the difficult business of preparing young people for a range of uncertain futures, and includes evidence from young people themselves. The chapter concludes with a section on best practice, recognising the agency of young people and emphasising the ongoing obligations of professionals and informal advocates to young people who have been through the care system.

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