Social services’ support - introduction

Social services’ support - introduction

This chapter sets out the general legal position and good practice points for a social worker or other practitioners to consider when a migrant child or adult is referred for social services’ assistance, specifically, accommodation and financial support.

Later chapters provide more detailed information on eligibility for social services’ support for migrant children, adults with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.

Key points

  • Social services’ duties to safeguard the welfare of children, young people leaving care and vulnerable adults, may be engaged when a person or family is prevented by their immigration status from accessing social security benefits and requires accommodation and financial support to alleviate destitution.
  • Social services’ assistance is not a public fund for immigration purposes and can be provided to children and adults who are in need, regardless of their immigration status. However, for certain adults and families, the provision of accommodation and financial support is subject to a human rights assessment which considers whether they can return to their country of origin to avoid a situation of destitution in the UK as an alternative to being supported by social services.
  • Social workers need to be aware of the different ways that having ‘no recourse to public funds’ (NRPF) can impact on vulnerable groups, for example, women and children who are at risk of domestic abuse and must ensure that their practice is gender and culturally sensitive.
  • When assessing eligibility for accommodation and financial support, in most cases social workers will need to undertake additional steps, for example, providing access to an interpreter, liaising with the person’s legal adviser, or obtaining immigration status information from the Home Office, ensuring that data protection legislation is adhered to.