Home Immigration News Hostile environment leaving UK-born children street homeless, finds report

Hostile environment leaving UK-born children street homeless, finds report

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Author: May Bulman

The government has been accused of prioritising its “hostile environment” policies over children’s rights after it emerged UK-born children are being left street homeless due to the immigration status of their parents.

Thousands of youngsters are living in extreme poverty as local councils wrongly deny support to parents who, under Home Office rules, have no access to welfare benefits because they are subject to immigration controls, according to a report by a charity.

Project 17 found that in some cases, families in London – many with children who were born in the UK – have been forced to sleep in churches, on buses or in A&E departments because they have been wrongly denied support due to “gruelling” and “hostile” assessment processes.

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Local authorities are obliged under Section 17 of the Children’s Act to safeguard and promote the welfare of children “in need” – a provision that has become a safety net for youngsters whose parents have no recourse to public funds (NRPF) due to their immigration status.

But the charity said pressures of austerity and cuts to councils’ budgets have made many local authorities unwilling to provide this support, leading them to use “gatekeeping” methods and subject families to “unprofessional and disrespectful” treatment to deter families from accessing it.

The report states: “Support under section 17 is increasingly hard to access and local authorities are employing various strategies to refuse families with NRPF support.

“Misinformation, attacks on credibility, intimidation, aggression, and disrespect on the part of local authorities leaves families destitute and at high risk of exploitation.”

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said the report was a “cruel indictment” of the government’s hostile environment.

Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/hostile-environment-children-street-homeless-home-office-immigration-status-project-17-a8785256.html

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