This chapter draws on our research findings with separated young people seeking asylum, and outlines the ways in which separated young people and social work practitioners might resist convention and dominant immigration rhetoric to go the ‘extra mile’ to support young people as new arrivals to the UK. Evidence shows that separated children and young people seeking asylum experience acute feelings of vulnerability (Hek, Hughes and Ozman, 2012), confusion and disorientation. There is great significance for their well-being in establishing a trusting relationship with at least one supporting adult (Hendry, 2012). As loco-parentis, social workers are in a powerful position to be able to provide such support, but the quality of support provided to this group of young people remains varied (Kohli, 2013). This chapter draws attention to the different rationalities that influence these practices and draws on Foucault’s ideas (1988) about structural factors and ideological presuppositions to explore how social workers might avert their gaze from the technical aspects of decision making in health and welfare matters in order to contribute to genuine empowerment of separated children.
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