The challenges experienced by social-care workers working with separated migrant children in residential care settings
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BA (Hons) in Social Science
Dublin Business School
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This study examined and analysed social care workers‟ account of their work with separated migrant children in a residential care setting. The dramatic changes in the composition of Irish society and the unprecedented increase in numbers of migrant children posed a major challenge to the government in general and the social care profession, that struggles to cope with multi-ethnicity, in particular. Studies suggest that there is a lack in the social services provided to separated migrant children while they face the challenge of integrating into the Irish culture. Irish social care professionals are confronted with new ordeals linked with disruption, control and prejudice. The professional skills, level of awareness, experience, and outcome of social care work with migrant children are part of what this research aims to explore. The objective of this study is to promoting better awareness of cross-cultural values and beliefs. With the use of qualitative research method for this study, the procedure consists of face to face and email interviews, which sought to explore the experiences, understanding and perspectives of social care practitioners in their roles. The findings in the study have emerged with three main themes: cultural differences, language difficulties, and lack of resources. These cover a variety of issues including lack of cultural foods, lack of support for religious beliefs, lack of facilities and inadequate provision of interpretation services. Support has been found to be inadequate, an absence of a legal framework for the provision of care to migrant children in residential care Ireland has been revealed. Separated migrant children are expected to adapt to the existing system in place, rather than the social care services be responsive to their multi-ethnic needs. The findings also reflect the views and personal experiences of the social care workers in their roles. Cultural experiences have been found to be more of self-learning through working with these children, rather than developed through institutionally provided trainings and workshops. Author kewywords: Separated child, unaccompanied child, migrant, refugee, asylum seeker