Focus areas

Local Authorities and individuals have highlighted a number of areas which we want to give prominence to and are key to successfully supporting separated young people.

We are giving priority to Four at this stage and will update these areas including, for instance, any training that may be available and providing links. If you have any contributions to make here please let us have them to include.

1. Safeguarding and Trafficking (Modern Slavery) 

At this point we want to highlight the National Referral Mechanism – while it is expected that a best interests decision should rule out case transfer for trafficked children, it is possible that a trafficking concern will emerge subsequently with an NTS case and will need to be addressed:

Nationally and regionally there is a concern that human trafficking is under recognised and, when it is, the appropriate action is not  taken, or not promptly if it is. This indicates it is still an area of uncertainty for practitioners and we are keen to  encourage greater knowledge and expertise.


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2. Health and Well-being 

Social Workers and health professionals are used to dealing with a range of concerns regarding children when they come into care. For unaccompanied children there will be some additional issues to think about, including:

      • Immediate (but temporary)  – Skin conditions/contact dermatitis from travel conditions, anaemia from poor diet, gastric-intestinal disorders, bruising and abrasions.
      • Ensuring an interpreter is present at the initial medical assessment is important.
      • Longer term – dental, cardiovascular, muscular skeletal problems. Pregnancy. TB and blood-borne conditions , especially Hepatitis B & C are things to identify quickly.
      • Severe enduring physical conditions/disabilities – impaired sight and hearing, loss of fingers or limbs. FGM; other impacts of wounding and scarring.
      • Immunisations – can vary from some to none and it is likely that no clear evidence will be available.
      • Mental and Emotional – short term disorientation/distress linked to physical exhaustion. Longer term emotional disorders, including PTSD
      • Other issues – specific learning difficulties and global developmental conditions, which may only emerge as language and other issues are addressed.

Access to Dental Care for Unaccompanied Children in public care/looked after

This information has been provided by a Consultant in Dental Public Health at  Public Health England:

Looked After Children should have a dental assessment as part of their initial health assessment. May be prudent for a screening question to be asked to see if urgent dental care is needed before a routine check up is arranged.

The following question may help: “Do you have pain from your teeth that keeps you awake at night?” If the answer to this question is yes, follow the steps below to secure urgent dental treatment. 

How to find a dentist

Use the NHS Choices website to locate a NHS dental practice which is convenient; simply enter your postcode in the search box to find a practice nearby.

NHS dental charges

NHS dental charges are explained here:

Urgent treatment

If you require urgent treatment, please contact your usual dental practice as they may be able to see you or direct you to an urgent care dental service. If you do not have a regular dentist, call NHS 111 for advice on where you can get urgent care.

Emergency dental treatment will deal with the problem at hand and the fee for the treatment is currently £19.70. You may be advised to make another appointment for a separate course of non-urgent treatment. In this case, you will have to pay a second charge in the relevant treatment band.

Interpreting services

Dental practices are required to secure the services of an interpreter if necessary; there will be no additional charge for the patient for this service.

3. Education

This will be a critical area for most young people and encompasses language /ESOL and formal education under the National Curriculum in school and other training and vocational opportunities.

Usually, the main factors which will determine how well a young person will engage are their existing experience of education and their facility in/ability to learn English.

This is followed by the availability of school and college places and the support available to help them to establish themselves.

4. Age Assessment

This is always an area of concern and is included in the NTS process, in terms of where responsibility lies to complete an age assessment.

In 2015 the ADCS published the revised Joint Working Agreement with the Home Office and Practice Guidance for Social Workers:


The following is a related article from Community Care Inform: