Project 17

Campaign: Seen and Heard


Let’s make sure all children have the right to a home and enough to eat, regardless of immigration status.

Thousands of children in need are being failed by local and central government in the UK simply because of their parents’ immigration status.

Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 places a duty on local authorities to safeguard and promote the welfare of children ‘in need’ in their area. Support provided under this legislation has become an essential safety net for children whose parents are unable to access mainstream welfare support because of their immigration status (families with ‘no recourse to public funds’ or ‘NRPF’). Many children in such families grow up in exceptional poverty. They are at high risk of homelessness, exploitation and abuse. But our research shows that local authorities are routinely failing families with ‘no recourse to public funds’, with many children being left street homeless or without enough money to eat or get to school.

Our report, ‘Not Seen, Not Heard: Children’s Experiences of the Hostile Environment’ shows that the challenges of having no recourse to public funds, and the interconnected barriers to accessing local authority support, has a significant emotional impact on children and young people. Children experiencing these issues are left feeling socially isolated, distressed, ashamed, and unsafe.

‘Any time I said, “Mum, can we go home?” I forgot that we didn’t have a home, so I couldn’t. My mum said, “which home?” and I said, “oh yeah, we don’t have a home”. Then I didn’t want to talk anymore. I was feeling very sad.’ - Joel, age 9

Joel’s story

Watch this short video to hear Joel’s story

Join us in creating a child-friendly environment! At Project 17, we believe all children have a right to a home and enough to eat, regardless of their parents’ immigration status.

We are asking local authorities to formally adopt this Children’s Charter to show their commitment to upholding children’s rights for children in need of support under section 17. To sign up to the charter, local authorities can contact Eve Dickson by emailing 

 How can I support the campaign?

Doing one of these 4 actions only takes a few minutes. To do all four will take a maximum of 10 minutes and would make a huge difference to the children and families we work with - Take action today and make sure children from migrant families are #seenandheard


1. Support our campaign by contacting your local authority to ask them to sign up to our Children's Charter

Download this template letter to Local authority - you can check your local authority here

  2. Contact your local MP and ask them to support the campaign

Download this template letter to MP - you can find your MP's contact details here

  3. Share the campaign on your social media 

 Suggested Tweets:

Every year, thousands of children in England are left street homeless & without          enough money to eat or go to school. We support @Project17UK campaign to ensure that every child has enough to eat & a safe place to live, regardless of their parents’ immigration status #seenandheard
Joel, 9, and his mum were left street homeless by their local authority. They had to spend several nights in the A&E of their local hospital. Watch@Project17's video to learn more about children's experiences of the #HostileEnvironment #seenandheard

4. Donate to Project 17 and help us work with families with no recourse to public funds to make sure all children have a home and enough to eat, regardless of immigration status
click here to help us continue providing vital advice and advocacy to migrant families who have been refused local authority support


Join our campaign #seenandheard to make sure local authorities meet all children’s essential needs, regardless of immigration status.

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