Thousands of asylum-seeking children and their families are being forced into severe poverty a woefully inadequate asylum support system, a parliamentary inquiry revealed today. The Inquiry into Asylum Support for Children and Young People, whose panel included Nadine Finch, goes as far as concluding that babies' and mothers' lives are being put at risk.
The Inquiry has found that families in the asylum system routinely have to survive on levels of support far below mainstream benefits. This is leaving some children and young people in inadequate housing, unable to feed and clothe themselves adequately, and stranded from healthcare without the money for public transport.
One of the key recommendations of the Inquiry's final report is to urgently bring asylum support into line with mainstream benefits. Additionally it calls for the abolition of the "cashless system" - whereby asylum seekers receive their allowances on a card - because of its inflexibility.
An executive summary of the Inquiry's report is also available.
Nadine Finch is an immigration, community care and family law expert, and regularly advises families, local authorities and third sector organisations about their rights and obligations under the law in relation to asylum issues.