Policy Influencing intentions

Expressions of interest required

Background

Kids in Need of Defense UK is a ground-breaking pro bono programme with potential to help thousands of undocumented children achieve settled status. It's a collaboration between not-for-profits and law firms to train and supervise commercial lawyers, who in turn provide representation in children's immigration cases.

The programme is now in its 5th year and we intend to use our knowledge and understanding of the situations facing undocumented children in the UK to advocate for change.

Our strategic plan is currently available here.

Policy influencing

We seek to tackle the failure of local authority children’s services to routinely address the immigration and citizenship needs of children in care. As evidence of their duty to safeguard the best interests of children we want local authorities to commit to addressing children’s immigration and citizenship needs as early as possible and to include this in the development of the child’s pathway plan.

We seek to extend their commitment to spread good practice in this respect, so it becomes embedded in the way they work with all children and families that they help – including families receiving support from their early help service, as well as those who have a social worker.

Root causes

We believe the problems stem from

  • Failure to understand the importance of this issue in relation to the welfare of children; and conflicting messages about duties to notify the Home Office of a person’s immigration status; failure to identify children in need of this specialist advice.
  • Lack of confidence amongst children’s services staff about immigration issues
  • Absence of skill in how to overcome the potential reluctance of families to share this information with a statutory body

Outcomes

The outcomes we are seeking are:

  • Those local authorities recognise the benefits of enabling their residents to secure their immigration status; and that they see the benefits of actively pursuing secure status for children and young people.
  • That this way of working becomes embedded at a structural level within local authority Children’s’ Services so it will be sustained.

Expressions of interest

We are seeking interest from experienced policy thinkers and influencers skilled in working collaboratively to make both policy and practice changes.

The work will involve

  • Initial scoping of the changes necessary to achieve our outcomes and development of an advocacy/policy change work plan
  • Development of a policy framework for children’s services that would embed the obligation to consider the immigration status of children (and families) into their consideration of the best interests of the child.
  • Development of a practice guide (in partnership with local authorities) to provide appropriate approaches and actions for children’s services staff to follow to achieve the goals of the policy framework

All of the not-for-profits working within the KIND UK collaboration have links into Children’s Services Teams and will be able to promote the dialogue and relationships needed to facilitate this work.

To arrange an initial conversation about this opportunity, please get in touch with Joshua Beaumont.

We envisage this work starting in September/October 2021 and would expect to have the first scoping and planning phase completed before the end of 2021.

We are happy to explore potential costs and budget for this work as part of the initial conversation.