CFAB discusses the impact of UK's EU departure with Children's Services leaders at Blue Sky Thinking Festival
Children and Families Across Borders was delighted to be involved in the Blue Sky Thinking Festival this August and to have the opportunity to speak directly to current and future leaders in Children’s Services about the impact of the UK’s departure from the European Union.
The Blue Sky Thinking Festival is a fantastic programme of events put together by The Staff College each year for those in leadership roles in Children’s Services across the country. Following the success of our event in July aimed at consular staff, this festival provided a unique opportunity to explain the impact of Brexit to those working directly in Children’s Services.
CFAB’s own trustee Dr David Jones, a member of the British Association of Social Workers’ Board, led the event, which was attended by Children’s Services leaders from eight different local authorities. The participants heard from Maria Wright, CFAB’s Senior Legal Advisor, who clearly set out the implications of the transition from Brussels IIa to the 1996 Hague Convention and provided practical advice on how to manage cases with a European element under the new regulation. We were also very pleased to be joined by Suzie Mahony, Trainee Solicitor, from the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, who gave an in-depth explanation of the current situation for children in care following the end of the EU Settlement Scheme.
The discussion that followed was detailed and demonstrated the real concerns that leaders in the sector have about the impact of the UK’s departure on the children in their care. This echoes the statistics released by the Home Office that that 3,300 looked after children and care leavers are eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, a number which the Children’s Society believes to be an underestimate. Since only 1,520 applications to the EUSS have been received, it seems likely that many European young people may face losing their legal residency in the UK.
Given the ongoing concerns surrounding the UK’s departure from the EU, CFAB will continue to work closely with all those involved in supporting European children and young people. This event was preceded by a similar discussion with representatives of the consular community, who also play an important role in mitigating the impact these changes have on children’s lives. As we continue to gain a better understanding of how the UK’s departure will impact young people, CFAB will use its expertise to advise leaders from across the sector on the best practice to protect and support children.