Scottish Guardianship Service


Scottish Guardianship Service

The Scottish Guardianship Service works with children and young people who arrive in Scotland unaccompanied and separated from their families. The service supports unaccompanied asylum seeking and trafficked children and young people.

Guardians support the young people by helping them navigate the immigration and welfare processes, and feel supported and empowered throughout the asylum process, assisting them to access the help they need when they need it, and make informed decisions about their future.


Aberlour and the Scottish Refugee Council are the principal partners in the
guardianship pilot, which is an innovative service for children and young people and serves as a ground breaking piece of action research with the potential for wider application.

Scottish Guardianship Service service leaflet

You can read about how the Service helped Ali when he arrived in Glasgow alone at 15 years old.

You can download the evaluation reports here:

Scottish Guardianship Service First Annual Evaluation report - 2011

Summary - Full Evaluation report of the Scottish Guardianship Service - 2013

Evaluation report of the Scottish Guardianship Service -2013

Services & Outcomes

Service aims and what we offer

The service aims to improve separated childrens’ experience and understanding of the immigration and welfare processes and to ensure they receive services appropriate to their needs and entitlements.  Through the promotion of a child-centred model of practice we aim to improve interagency working within the immigration and child welfare processes and develop systemic change in the best interests of the child.

All separated children newly arrived in Scotland will be allocated a guardian who will be their consistent point of contact to:

• act as a link between all services and professionals that are involved in their life,

• help the young person to understand the roles and responsibilities of these professionals,

• assist the young person in understanding the complex immigration and welfare processes and enable them to fully participate in their claims for status and support,

• help the young person to present their case in their claim for asylum and develop tools and techniques to support them and their workers,

• advocate on the young person's behalf and ensure their voices are heard

We also offer advice and information for existing separated children in Scotland and the professionals in the services that work with them. 


The aim of the Scottish Guardianship Service is to establish and operate a guardianship pilot project in Scotland that will serve the specific needs of separated children. The main outcomes of our service are:
• to ensure that each child has a significantly improved experience and understanding of the immigration and welfare processes, evidenced by the child’s informed participation and that they receive services and responses appropriate to their needs and entitlements;

• to develop a child-centred model of practice that promotes interagency working and provides better information upon which to base immigration decisions.

This service also contributes to the following Scottish Government’s National Outcomes:

• Our young people are successful learners, confident individuals, effective communicators and responsible citizens.

• Our children live longer, healthier lives

• The life chances for children, young people and families at risk have improved

• Our children have the best start in life and are ready to succeed

• Our public services are high quality, continually improving, efficient and responsive to local people’s needs.

Joint Protocol between Scottish Guardianship Service, Local Authorities in Scotland and the UK Border Agency

Scottish Guardianship Service - Participation Plan Strategy


Referrals to the service can be made from any Local Authority or agency in Scotland by fax or email using the online referral form.  Our fax number is 0141 243 2499 and email is  This should be followed up with a phone call to 0141 445 8659.

Scottish Guardianship Service Eligibility Criteria

Scottish Guardianship Service Referral Form

The asylum and trafficking processes can be complex and daunting, not only for the young people involved in them. This section of our website provides some information which may be useful for carers/professionals who are working with and supporting young people who have claimed asylum or who may have been trafficked to the UK.

We cannot cover every aspect of the asylum and trafficking processes here but hopefully the links and documents provide a good overview of some of the basics. We have included some information and guidance on the asylum and trafficking processes, age assessments and working with interpreters, as well as links to useful websites.

If you are looking for more specific or detailed information please contact us and we will try to assist.


  • Scottish Guardianship Service - Your Asylum Claim - this is a document designed for young people, which provides comprehensive information about claiming asylum in the UK.  It is also a useful resource for anyone wishing to learn more about the asylum process in the UK.
  • Asylum Process Map - this Process Map represents the different stages in the asylum process and outlines the relevant timescales. 


  • The Child Protection Committee website has valuable information and resources in relation to Child trafficking, including identifying concerns and what to do if you believe a child may have been trafficked.
  • The London Safeguarding Children Board website brings together a variety of resources including guidance, research and training opportunities which may assist professionals working with children who may have been trafficked.

Age Assessment Guidance 

Young people often arrive seeking asylum without any documentation showing their age; they may not know their age or their appearance makes it hard to judge. Correct age assessment is vital in order to ensure that they get the protection and support that they need.

Age Assessment Practice Guidance

This practice guidance, which is a first in the UK, is aimed at helping social workers in Scotland to conduct the difficult task of accurately assessing the age of young asylum seekers. 

Age Assessment Information Guide

This guide is aimed at young people to give them information about the age assessment process and their rights within that process. 

Interpreting Services

These are just some of the interpreting services located in and around Glasgow.  If you are based in another area of Scotland and require an interpreter check if there is an Interpreting and Translation Service more locally.  Some of these services offer a telephone interpreting service as well as face to face interpreting.


Contact details

Scottish Guardianship Service
6th Floor Portland House
17 Renfield Street
G2 5AH
0141 4458659
0141 2432499