Separated Children Seeking Asylum
Where separated children seeking asylum are identified by An Garda Síochána, at the point of entry, the circumstances are investigated and where concerns about the safety and welfare are identified, the child is placed into the care of the HSE.
Separated Children seeking asylum are deemed to be in need of care and protection under the Child Care Act, 1991 and are entitled to equity of treatment and rights as other children at risk. The immediate and ongoing needs of separated children seeking asylum (SCSA) as well as their application for refugee status are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive (HSE) in accordance with the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended) and the Child Care Act, 1991.
The HSE has developed a national policy on the standards and services to be provided to separated children seeking asylum. The policy seeks to achieve equity and equality of services to separated children seeking asylum vis a vis all children at risk and to ensure that there is no differentiation of care provision, care practices, care priorities, standards or protocols until the young person reaches 18 years.
In 2001, there were 1085 separated children seeking asylum. This figure has dropped to 105 by 2010. These children are placed in family foster care and in small residential centres. The National Standards for Foster Care and Children Residential Centres apply to their care provision, and the Foster Care Services comes under the HIQA inspection service. The HSE registration and inspection services monitors residential services provided in the private and voluntary sector.
Separated Children Seeking Asylum are allocated a HSE social worker to develop their care plan and supervise the standard of their placement.