Westwood, Joanne Louise
Constructing risk and avoiding need: Findings from interviews with social workers and police officers involved in safeguarding work with migrant children.
Child Abuse Review, 21
Previous research illustrates the lack of services and provision for the needs of migrant children; assessments of needs in the early stage of their arrival into the UK have previously been advocated. This paper reports on a qualitative study with officials in agencies working with children at a UK port of entry. Along with a sense of isolation and fragmentation between those agencies involved in this work, there were clear tensions between the safeguarding agendas and practices of the agencies involved. Analysis of interviews with social workers and police officers suggests that there was a lack of confidence and trust between agencies and in multi-agency approaches to safeguarding children entering the UK. Assessment approaches tend to be risk orientated at the expense of being culturally attuned and children's rights focused. These findings are discussed together with recommendations for further research.