Safeguarding children from destitution: Local authority responses to families with ‘no recourse to public funds’

Published 3 June 2015 / By Sarah Spencer, Jonathan Price

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This report explores a tension between two areas of policy concerning the welfare of children: between provisions in immigration law that exclude some families from accessing mainstream welfare benefits (‘no recourse to public funds’) and a requirement on local authorities to safeguard and promote the welfare of any child ‘in need’. It sets out the findings of a study that has investigated the challenges to which that tension gives rise, for local authorities and for the children and families concerned. From a survey of local authorities in England and Wales and of voluntary sector support agencies, eight local authority research sites and 92 interviews with 49 service providers and 43 parents (in 41 families), it finds evidence that draws into question whether the intention of the law - to safeguard children in need - is for this group of children always being met.

Executive summary


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