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Highlights of our casework survey 2023

Every year we get the views of families that we work with via our casework survey, which helps us to understand how we are doing, what people think and get anonymous views on our service. This year, we want to share some of the results.

This blog will be in two parts - This part will focus on family casework services and practitioner advice, with the second part (coming soon) will look at our work with unaccompanied asylum seeking children and young people seeking advice themselves and our service in numbers.

The last year has seen a huge increase in demand for our services, we are simply unable at the moment to meet all referrals and enquiries that come into the service. By the nature of the service that we run, at least half of our casework is particularly complex, where safeguarding concerns, complex medical problems and other child welfare issues intersect with immigration difficulties. This means that we hold cases open for longer and provide more intensive support, which is exactly what we set up this service to do. We are uniquely placed as a service to provide support in more complex situations concerning children.

Family Casework

Our family casework includes our anti-destitution project, assessment service and family support services. The volume of the work in this area remains work with families subject to immigration control, where NRPF applies. As we would expect to see, the majority of work within this project has to do with housing and financial advice and advocacy, supporting people to access immigration advice and legal support and applications for exceptional case funding.

We carried out independent assessments in the period, predominantly concerning immigration decisions concerning children and families, these included in deportation matters and leave to remain applications.

The chart shows what families feel we supported them with in the period.

What changed?

We were thrilled with the results of this, this year. As a charity, we track for funders regularly our outcomes in terms of figures, what it means etc, but to gain an idea of perception of the effectiveness of our work with families is really important. The majority of families that we work with report significant improvements across immigration, housing, financial situations, health and wellbeing of parents and children.

This chart shows what people felt the changes were like across different areas of life - from housing, financial and immigration, to health and wellbeing of parents and children.

What did we do well?

We asked in free text what people think we do well. We have picked a couple of responses to share here.

Together with migrant children as an Organisation has brought so much joy, relieve and hope to me and my daughter, always looking forward to their events for families, its always fun filled , Thanks to the entire team. Happy to also say that Lucy has been a wonderful support system for my daughter and I since I came in contact with Together with Migrant Child, she will go the extra mile every time to see to the wellbeing of my daughter and I and she will always show up for me anytime her attention is needed, I am extremely grateful for her help.

Every aspect of my life and daughter's has been touched, I don't feel anxious again because I know there's help and support. My daughter has more confidence and she's much more. happier.

I have worked closely with together with migrant children team and they have been of great help to me and my family. They supported me in time of my housing crisis. Brenda and Nick was very helpful and supportive. Talking with Nick at the start of the crisis, in the state of despair, calmed me with his positive and assuring words. Brenda worked with me more closely and she's very supportive as well. She signposted me to services that I needed which was very helpful. They also organise holiday activities for the children which I think is brilliant.

What could we do better?

The most important question on the casework survey, what could we be doing better? Here we have posted all the suggestions in a list;

  • Have more staff

  • More help with supermarket vouchers and material support.

  • Being able to help people resolve their immigration difficulties quicker.

  • Run more activity programmes.

  • Have access to more grants and financial support.

Practitioner advice project feedback

For the first time this year we collected specific feedback on our no names consultation service for practitioners, which enables practitioners to access advice on cases, ideas for progression and practical explanations of the system that the families they are working with are in. Following advice sessions, we may support practitioners with advice and guidance, or take on a referral for a case if we feel that it needs it.

Of those that used our advice services;

  • 30% were local authority children's services practitioners.

  • 45% were from the charity sector.

  • 10% were legal professionals.

  • 15% were from education - schools and college

Quality of advice

We asked people what they thought about the advice that they received from us. We asked people to think about the following statements;

  • The advice received was high quality and the practitioner took the time to explain their advice.

  • The practitioner understood my worries and concerns.

  • The practitioner seemed knowledgeable about the advice.

  • I was given sufficient time to explore my concerns

  • The advice was useful.

  • The advice improved my overall knowledge

  • I felt the outcome was right (one off advice, signposting or taking a referral.

What's good about the advice service?

They proactively suggested an advisory call to support me to best advocate for a family at their S17 assessment. I really appreciate that he took the time to contribute to my learning as a student social worker. He gave me clear pointers with regards to my role accompanying the family to their assessment appointment, and the impact of this was that I successfully advocated for the family to receive interpretation and comfort breaks which protected their dignity during a very difficult time. As well as sharing his expertise on immigration matters and the practicalities of working with local authorities, Their passion for social work that advocates for families' human rights and social justice really comes across.

The practitioner used examples to explain similar situations to me which was reassuring. The person I spoke to was so helpful and ready to offer casework to our client directly if needed

As a practitioner, prior to talking with the service, I was slightly confused in the area around Immigration Law and procedures to the point whereby i was doubting my ability to support this mother and child to the level they required. This particular advise session provided me with the knowledge and confidence to move forward and in addition I was provided with written information on our session which I am able to use to inform my practice and provide to other professionals. Just one session answered a thousand queries in my view.

What could we do better?

Their was only one response in what we can do better and that was that on occasion, we could be quicker to respond to requests for advice. This is in line with the general demand increase that we have seen across our services, bringing the average response time for enquiries from 2 to 4 days by email and from 1 to 2 days by phone.

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