A new evaluation has found that the Scottish Guardianship Service offers a lifeline for asylum-seeking children who arrive alone, with no family.
Since its launch in 2010, the service has supported over 750 extremely vulnerable young people, from 44 nationalities, speaking 46 different languages.
The average age of children referred to the service is 15. Nearly 60% of these young people show signs of trafficking or exploitation.
What is the Scottish Guardianship Service?
The Scottish Guardianship Service is run by Aberlour Children’s Charity in partnership with the Scottish Refugee Council. The service supports unaccompanied minors arriving in Scotland in search of safety.
Many of the young people we work with are survivors of human trafficking or have fled countries torn apart by war. They arrive in Scotland with no friends or family to take care of them and are faced with welfare, immigration and criminal justice systems that are complex, frightening and difficult to understand.
Guardians offer emotional support, explain what is happening and help the young people to make informed decisions about their futures. The service also runs art and cookery workshops, sports and outdoor activities, giving young people an opportunity to have fun, make friends and try new things.
Making a difference
The evaluation finds that all aspects of the Scottish Guardianship Service benefit young people, but four key factors were found to have the biggest positive impact.
- Helping young people to make sense of the complex asylum and legal systems they face
- Gathering and providing information for lawyers, social workers, healthcare professionals, police and Home Office officials
- Working with young people to help them develop statements to support their asylum claims
- Providing young people with comfort, advice and emotional support
Thanks to the Scottish Guardianship Service, hundreds of vulnerable young people who have experienced terrible trauma now have a bright future ahead of them.
The Scottish Guardianship Service is made possible thanks to funding from the Scottish Government and the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.