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Identity, care and justice

Taking a multi-disciplinary perspective, and one grounded in human rights, Unaccompanied young migrants explores in-depth the journeys migrant youths take through the UK legal and care systems.

Arriving with little agency, what becomes of these children as they grow and assume new roles and identities, only to risk losing legal protection as they reach eighteen?

Through international studies and crucially the voices of the young migrants themselves, the book examines the narratives they present and the frameworks of culture and legislation into which they are placed. It challenges existing policy and questions, from a social justice perspective, what the treatment of this group tells us about our systems and the cultural presuppositions on which they depend.

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This chapter explores the diversity of migration regimes with reference to unaccompanied child migrants to reveal how they are forced to navigate complex legal systems, and the regulatory frameworks that are supposed to provide them with support and protection, but which all too often fail to deliver. The first section examines the role of scale in the development and implementation of migration regulations for unaccompanied youth. The chapter then considers border practices and the effects of off-shoring to process migrants applying for asylum, or as an attempt to reduce immigration. The chapter then focuses on the case of unaccompanied minors who came to Calais as part of their intended journey to the UK. The chapter argues that laws which are supposed to protect unaccompanied young people are not implemented in full, and that young people are not able to access the support which would enable them to benefit from these laws.

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This chapter draws together themes emerging from the preceding chapters, as well as identifying policy recommendations. It starts by highlighting the insights drawn from the cross-disciplinary approach adopted in the book. It then moves on to stress the social justice and human rights perspective, including the implications of how unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are framed by the authorities that are dealing with their cases. It discusses the need to acknowledge and support young people in exercising their agency, albeit within the confines of structural inequalities. The chapter then provides policy recommendations including the implementation of current laws and guidelines, and a review of age assessment processes. The chapter concludes with examples of new practices and new critical thinking that have emerged in the face of challenges associated with supporting unaccompanied young migrants in recent years.

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Taking a multi-disciplinary perspective, and one grounded in human rights, this book explores in depth the journeys unaccompanied child migrants take through the UK legal and care systems. Arriving with little agency, the book considers what becomes of these children as they grow and assume new roles and identities, only to risk losing legal protection as they reach eighteen. Through international studies, and crucially of the young migrants themselves, the book examines the narratives they present, and the frameworks of culture and legislation into which they are placed. Challenging existing policy, it questions, from a social justice perspective, what the treatment of this group tells us about our systems and the cultural presuppositions on which they depend. Contributors are researchers and practitioners in film-making, human geography, law, psychology, psychotherapy, social work and sociology,

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Taking a multi-disciplinary perspective, and one grounded in human rights, this book explores in depth the journeys unaccompanied child migrants take through the UK legal and care systems. Arriving with little agency, the book considers what becomes of these children as they grow and assume new roles and identities, only to risk losing legal protection as they reach eighteen. Through international studies, and crucially of the young migrants themselves, the book examines the narratives they present, and the frameworks of culture and legislation into which they are placed. Challenging existing policy, it questions, from a social justice perspective, what the treatment of this group tells us about our systems and the cultural presuppositions on which they depend. Contributors are researchers and practitioners in film-making, human geography, law, psychology, psychotherapy, social work and sociology,

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Taking a multi-disciplinary perspective, and one grounded in human rights, this book explores in depth the journeys unaccompanied child migrants take through the UK legal and care systems. Arriving with little agency, the book considers what becomes of these children as they grow and assume new roles and identities, only to risk losing legal protection as they reach eighteen. Through international studies, and crucially of the young migrants themselves, the book examines the narratives they present, and the frameworks of culture and legislation into which they are placed. Challenging existing policy, it questions, from a social justice perspective, what the treatment of this group tells us about our systems and the cultural presuppositions on which they depend. Contributors are researchers and practitioners in film-making, human geography, law, psychology, psychotherapy, social work and sociology,

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This chapter provides an overview of the issues faced by unaccompanied child migrants in their search for safety and security. It highlights legal definitions used in national and international law, and the rights that such young people can claim under those laws. It outlines the demography of flows of migrant youth, including numbers, nationalities, and gender. The diversity of the group is highlighted, along with the way in which their treatment and experiences vary significantly depending on how they are framed by the immigration and welfare authorities that they come into contact with. The chapter examines the role of a social justice framework in understanding migrant experiences, an acknowledgement of young people’s agency, and the role of social workers and others working with young people. The chapter finishes with an overview of the subsequent chapters divided into three main sections: framing the youth migrant debate, exploring migrant youth identities, and international perspectives.

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