Project 17



We contributed to the following media articles:


Embedded Home Office Workers

Eight London councils currenctly employ 'embedded' Home Office Immigration Officials in social services departments. We are concerned that this practice has a 'chilling effect' on families seeking support, deterring them from seeking support due to fear of immigration enforcement. We conducted research into this practice which informed this article in the Guardian. We also contributed to a Financial Times article on this issue which can be downloaded here. 

The Hostile Environment

We have written an article for the Guardian about local authorities' failures to support migrant families in the context of the 'hostile environment'. As it becomes harder to regularise immigration status, and harder to survive while waiting for applications for to be processed, more families with children are facing homelessness and destitution. 

Local authorities receive increasing numbers of requests for support under s.17 of the Children Act from families unable to meet their basic needs. Sadly, in the face of budget cuts of growing financial pressure on councils, many local authorities have responded by unlawfully turning away families desperate for support. 

Threats to take children into care

Social services are only ever entitled to remove children without the consent of their parents if the children are at risk of serious harm - like abuse or neglect - and are not safe with the parents because of their actions. Despite this, the families we work with are routinely threatened with having their children taken into care, even when there are no safeguarding issues surrounding parent’s care. We see this frequently through our advice and advocacy work and on our telephone advice line.

Our advice service shows that, when challenged, local authorities usually back away from this assertion. But we are concerned that many families do not seek independent help, and ‘disappear’ after being told by local authorities that their children can be taken into care. Many families remain homeless or destitute because they are too frightened to go back to social services after being threatened with having their children taken away. To raise awareness of this issue, we contributed to this Guardian article. We continue to engage with council officers and officials to highlight this dangerous and unlawful practice.