Unaccompanied minors or separated children are basically the children below the age of 18 years and these children are not within their home country and they are mostly separated from their parents and their earlier officially authorized care giver. These children might become separated away from the families through so many ways. Mass population dislocation, armed conflict, natural disasters plus other crises are the things that might cause the children to become separated from the parents and the entire family or anybody who is responsible for them. Separation occurs sometimes accidentally, for example when the families are fleeing from attack without warning or sometimes they flee intentionally. This occurs when children are neglected or even given over to someone else’s care for the reason that their families are not able to provide them with good care that they deserve. These children might as well be ransom, forced labor, sale or military recruitment. In some instances, these children are separated from their parents to go and stay with relatives for instance older sister, brother or uncles and aunties. Others are separated to go and stay with other adults who provide care for them. Like in the case of Anna, she is on her own because she does not have any relative since her parents died (Wendy 2001).
Anna was only sixteen years old when she went to UK unaccompanied from Albania after her parents died since she was also targeted by the traffickers in Albania. After coming to the UK she did not have parents, family, or guardianship support. She is intending to move to the West Yorkshire because she has been informed that so many refugees are camping there from her home country. There are numberless incidents of the same in the UK. They have different reasons as to why they seek for asylum although so many children are enforced to move from their countries because of political or religious persecution, poverty and even armed conflicts. Some of these children run away because they are experiencing child abuse and abandonment for instance employment into army. But the majority of the children their parents are dead due to various reasons (Wassell1998).
All these categories of children have exact defense and care needs which need good attention. Separated children and unaccompanied minors might need instant assistance when obtaining a very secure care situation together with the initiating activities when tracing family members. Unaccompanied or separated children also are termed as orphans who need special attention in determining long term care options that might be in their best interest (Ali 2008)
All the children who are depending on others as far as care and protection is concerned grow and develop. Children who become separated from their families because of clash or crisis suffer a great deal not only from the stressful environment and dangerous that nearly all children experience, but they also face the loss of their family as well as protection offered by the parents at the same time. As much as these children witness their schools and homes destroyed, required fleeing anything familiar to them, they will automatically begin seeking reassurance and safety from the family members. When their family members equally lost or separated, the children must go through the chaos of conflict as well as dislocation on their own (Blaikie 2000).
The collective effects of pain and loss and the instant dependability for their continued existence might be tremendously difficult for children to face without suitable support and concern. The separated children sometimes carry on adult responsibilities caring for themselves and the younger siblings. These situations brings them into an augmented risk of mistreatment or recruitment, and they equally face higher dangers of diseases and death since they are not even able to access the services that are very necessary to their continued existence and development. Even though children in disaster require assistance and protection to ensure their social, physical and emotional development, separated and unaccompanied children normally face supplementary and specifically dangerous challenges (Brian 1998).
Separated children might in one way or the other face additional nutritional and health issues for the reason their defenseless conditions. Humanitarian distribution systems might bring these separated children generally, and an unaccompanied minor particularly at a disadvantage since it is very hard for them to get food assistance or health programs minus the interference of an adult. Consequently, it might be very complex for them to get supplies or access medical services, consequential malnutrition as well as placing them at a very big risk for injuries and diseases more especially if they are staying in very congested environments. In some camps, they only register adults whereby unaccompanied children are only forced to associate themselves with adults so as to get food and care. Consequently, this situation puts these children at an elevated danger of exploitation when the adults don’t undertake suitable care responsibility for the children (Darlington 2002).
Separated children do not have any protective care of their parents as well as other family members to provide them with care, protect them from outside dangers, assist them to get used to a changing and hazardous environment. They end up becoming one of the vulnerable groups in calamity situations. As much as their physical survival is threatened, they face the wide range of dangers to their instant and continuing well being (Judith 2001). There status brings them into the high danger of abuse, forced labor, exploitation, recruitment into the armed forces and abduction. Once these separated children do not get enough food and other services that are very necessary for their survival, they end up being forced into probable exploitative situations in the company of the adults. They can go as far as being exploited as sexual objects and forced laborers. Boys and girls are equally forced to unite with armed groups or face arranged marriages or unwanted sexual associations. As much as Anna is trying to stay on her own she is expected to meet all these challenges. She is supposed to be handed over into an adult who will take good care of her in providing food and shelter in order to avoid such mistreatments (Jacqueline 2000).
For the duration of conflict and displacement so many children undergo fear, violence, loss and humiliation. The children who are separated from their parents will have gone through traumatic events hence they must cope with the additional loss, terror and confusion of loosing their parents together with other members of the family. As much as these children are not having any family support or protection, they become more vulnerable to constant worry and fear of their situation. Separated children tend to process their conflict experience by themselves and this situation might intrude on their every day activities, agitate their sleep, interrupt their attentiveness and prevent them from being able to engage fully in the everyday activities for example learning, playing and fundamental social interaction. If at they will not be provided with proper care, they end having long-standing effects which sometimes prevents the children from making necessary attachments or emotional bonds with others in the future (Nicolas 1995).
However, unaccompanied children normally loose the sense of personality and belonging together with the declaration that they will be supported by others during the difficult period. This kind of situation greatly affects the behavior of a child. Psychological programming is normally needed to find out the exact care relationships purposely to support the children’s regular recovery from traumatic events and integrate separated as well as unaccompanied children into their community. Some of the children might need extra targeted and more sustained mental health care and transfer mechanisms must be established to provide their support (Borge 1996).
Proper care must be provided in a way that does not cause envy or stigmatize children. The children are normally separated from their parents and families because of conflicts, population displacement and natural disasters are in the middle of the most vulnerable. They seem to have lost the care and defense of the families in the turmoil when they need them most. They undergo abuse and exploitation hence their survival is really threatened. All the unaccompanied children are entitled to emergency care and they are supposed to be provided with basic subsistence. In order to assist them, one must meet their basic wants adequately and in a standard comparable to the surrounding community hence it should be provided in a way that preserves family unity, keeps the children with their relatives or other care givers and in a way that does not lead them to separation. During urgent situations, interim care ought to be provided to those children who are separated from their parents and the entire family until they are reunited and placed with the foster parents or other long lasting arrangements for care are well made. This includes fostering, different forms of community based care and institutional care (Borge1996).
A number of separated children possibly will also be refugees since they have fled from their maternal countries. These children actually face so many risks in their lives. Sometimes their parents might be still at their country of origin or else even in another country. Additionally, their protection has vanished from their own government. The basic wants of separated immigrant children are similar to those of other separated children. In addition there are some special needs that are supposed to be considered.
So many non-accompanied children go the United Kingdom without having a legal guardianship claiming for refugee status. They come from different countries hence they are separated from their parents and guardians for several reasons. However, it is not a very straightforward process when identifying unaccompanied minors. So many refugee claimants flee with poor documentation since they do not give any proof of age. Some countries use physiological procedures in establishing the age. In some countries the interviewing officer is authorized to use documentary confirmation or testimony. However, the burden as far as proof is concerned rests on the applicant since he or she will be treated accordingly as an adult when the immigration officer is not satisfied that he or she is not a minor. Immigration officers are always advised to give notice to the provincial power for the children welfare during the time when a minor refugee applicant is not accompanied by an adult. The officer must also report if he develops some doubts concerning the relationship among the minor applicant and the adult who comes along with the child or the one who comes to meet the child (Wassell1998).
Taking into consideration these challenges are concerned and for the reason of inconsistencies when gathering data; it is very hard for one to determine the number of unaccompanied children who arrive in the UK every single year. Consequently, data collection methodologies are supposed to improve purposely to provide the aforementioned information more analytically.
The country that receives these unaccompanied children must always try to establish important information in relation to the children, together with their origins and age, at the same time as regarding their rights like children. Nevertheless, a lot of separated children might have been given instructions so that they do not give their correct ages, identities as well as stories expecting to disguise every link to the smuggler and facilitate the giving way of asylum. Depending on the country that they have settled, these children are supposed to get a medical assessment. They are supposed to be fingerprinted and snapped, and possibly will be subjected to the DNA testing plus X-rays, as well as experiencing very detailed official interviews. In quite a number of countries, unaccompanied children might be under arrest for various reasons. Refugees reach their destination like packages of multifarious civil rights issues, demanding the aforementioned human rights that have been taken away from them must be restored in the international neighborhood. As soon as unaccompanied refugee child looks for defense the challenges are exaggerated, because of having noticed the vulnerability of these particular children on the whole. The rule makes better provision as far as their welfare is concerned. Whereas they are processing as well as verifying claims in favor of the asylum, the host country has got to deal with medicinal requirements, mental and emotional disturbance. They are as well required to provide food, shelter, advice and protection (Nicolas 1995).
Every asylum seeking child is more unique as far as their cultural and social background, trip to the UK, pre-flight experiences together with the experiences of arriving in a new country are concerned. But all these children have one thing in common that they are all separated from their own parents and relatives. This contributes so much to a great number of risks as well as disadvantages. Once they rich UK, these children are permitted to the equal care plus the support as national children. The rules and regulations specify that the system has full responsibility in supporting unaccompanied children (Moses 2004).
Finally, this paper has provided a representation of the dangers faced by the unaccompanied children in the leaving care circumstance. Clear information in service provision together with the key policy concerns have also been highlighted. These children are supposed to be provided with good care such that they will be given humble time to cope with independent living in UK plus other countries.
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