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Report focuses on local authority responses to migrant families with ‘no recourse to public funds’

Study finds tension between immigration law requirements and Children Act duties

New research by COMPAS and funded by the Nuffield Foundation explores a tension between two areas of policy concerning the welfare of children: between a requirement in immigration law that some families be excluded from welfare benefits ('no recourse to public funds', or 'NRPF') and a provision in the Children Act 1989 (s17) that requires local authorities to safeguard and promote the welfare of any child 'in need'.

The report – Safeguarding Children from Destitution: Local Authority responses to Families with 'No Recourse to Public Funding' – by Jonathan Price and Sarah Spencer sets out the findings of an 18 month study which investigated the challenges to which that tension can give rise, for local authorities and for the children and families concerned. The study set out, first, to establish who comprise the families seeking support, the factors that lead them to approach local authorities and the welfare needs they present. It explored their experiences of engaging with local authorities and the outcomes, including the ways in which support is provided for those who receive it.

The study sought to establish the practices of local authority Children's Services departments administering s17 in relation to their assessments of need and provision of services. It explored the variation in practice between authorities, their relationship with advocates in the voluntary sector, and the implications of the Home Office's role for their capacity to resolve s17 cases.

The study states:

The report is here. An article by Sally Gore of Fenners Chambers – Families with No Recourse to Public Funding and Part III of the Children Act – can be read here.