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This paper aims to understand the reason why negotiation of the relationship between asylum policy and the well-being of asylum-seeking children has been particularly challenging in recent years. Its objective is to comprehend the nature and the implications of the relationship between childhood and asylum in the UK. It specifically investigates the theoretical, political and rhetorical frameworks applying to asylum-seeking children within families (‘accompanied’ children). It focuses on the actors involved in making, influencing and implementing policy: especially the Government, Members of Parliament, civil-society organisations, civil servants and, at the margin, the media. This paper argues that the controversy over asylum-seeking children does not result from a diverging understanding of childhood between the state and its opponents. Instead, divergence arises in relation to the consideration given to adult asylum-seekers and the standards set for the entire asylum system.


Working paper


Refugee Studies Centre

Publication Date




Total pages