Stateless, homeless and abandoned children and youth

I shall begin by asking those of you who remember my blog about homeless children at food handouts in the UK earlier this year to think about what a heated debate it became. The blog has 'gone away', which is to say it is a long way down the list. The issue has not. Today I found the following BBC story on Facebook.

It is absolutely an integral part of my field of research and has been since 1969. Indeed it is likely I shall be briefly working on a related topic in a few weeks time. So please let us begin by you looking at this:

I am sure there are a lot of things that people will instantly dismiss or deny. It seems inconceivable that it is possible that one in ten children in London are stateless. Some will ask what they are doing there? It is a fair enough question. However it is a distraction from the real issue, these are vulnerable young people. Why and how are they left there, why are they homeless, what has happened to the modern welfare state where this kind of this should never be possible. The questions go very deep.

Am I UK bashing? No, absolutely not. I would say that we would have to look at France (and most other 'wealthy' western nations) just beneath the surface and we would find much the same. We are in a period of massive migration flows because of what is happening around the world.

I usually think our world is incredibly beautiful, then I scratch just beneath the surface and things I thought I would see and end of at least three decades ago are little better. Sometimes I am disheartened. I ask what is it all about and why I bothered? But then if I had not, who would have?

I wish!!!!

you need to write a knee trembler....after our efforts on 50 shades on SFN am sure you are more than capable of writing one! Big profits!

Think it'll be a couple of years before they release an e-version. Academic texts hardly sell enormous numbers, but do I care as long as I get my miserable £7.20 a copy or whatever it works out.

haha! is it cheaper on Kindle???

This is the fourth local authority I have lived in where I am such a flea on their hide that I am invited to stand for office. I did it once for several years and no, not really interested again. Things went forward by such little steps, and then some back, that I'd rather keep on beating my children's rights drum. There will be a very good book appearing next spring, only about £120, I can highly recommend it...

Good for you Bruce! unfortunately I get more argumentative as I get older, so I am still banging away, not just on here local council are on first names terms with me!

You’re right Carol. How many marches and strikes did I go on, yet it’s still the same old story? Voted Labour all my life, only to end up with Gobshite Blair! Consequently, I’ve concluded that, with a bit of luck, I can spend my dotage with my head buried in the sand in God’s Little Acre in France( don’t know why I said that? I’m an atheist )…MY little acre!

…I think that happens to us all as we get older…the possibility of change diminishes and we become less hopeful of such change happening…I feel the same about politics.

I've fortunately never burned out Carol, but many have. I think disillusion that people cannot make changes takes its toll. Issues like this pay my wages sometimes, I would rather be a pauper in my heart.

The people in Geneva my OH is with all day Thursday are interested in a pan-European study of under 18 year olds. We sent them the BBC story link and have already fed them the links I gave below plus several more. If we get some funding from them then financially we won't be displeased, but part of me will say 'here we go again' since one bit of me is cynical after so long.

Understand your comments Brian…I originally trained as a general/paediatric nurse, but had to give up working with kids once I had my own…I found it impossible to look after abused children when I had to see their parents daily, the ones who had abused them. In the 70s there were a lot of children who were known to be beaten, burnt by cigarettes, starved etc. but claimed mental incapacity and were let off…I worked with in the same office as the childrens social workers at one time, and in the course of 3 years…saw several of them fall apart…to work with children for years guarantees burn out…its good that some can continue.

Spot on how to get the 'people' to understand that they're being manipulated by these leaders.

There Bruce I can only agree. My problem is that I have mostly been with people on the street, in their communities and so on and all they want is a decent life and a few square meals in general. It is leaders of all kinds, especially those with a political leaning (which includes many of the supposed relgious leaders) who decide than money will be spent on arms and people fight each other. Left to their own devices most people would just co-exist and get on with it. Then all of the wasted money could be used for the good of humanity.

The sad thing is, Kstie…we’re NOT a global community. If we were, then the money spent on arms etc., could be spent addressing such issues. I always despair when there’s an ad on TV asking us to spare 2 quid a month to stop some kid dying. This shouldn’t depend on individuals, it should be governments globally .

Before I am inundated, here are a couple of simple things to peruse:,%20US%20and%20Australia.pdf

There are many, many more and a lot of the research is ongoing with ages in the more recent work, sad to say, going down so that these typically 16 to early 20s studies are now being followed through with studies that really begin by including 12 year olds and up but a tiny number of younger children have been found. the youngest I have heard of was five in a food handout queue. She had obviously been in England for most of her life or born there but went 'off radar' after a couple of meals and when social services people were there to try to act on the reported case.

Whatever, not good.

Carol, if I had had any sense I would have studied then gone of to work with adult groups, if I had had more sense then I would have finished studying and walked into a merchant bank (like most of my contemporaries) and so on. But I did this. It is a vocation in the end like clergy, like your medic husband, etc. We often have the skills and education to do very well for ourselves but of we go off and choose a topic like mine.

Right now, with North Wales rearing its head again because the children were not listened to then, perhaps because Tory MPs were implicated and Thatcher would have burst a valve, and the whole sordid Savile and his probable social circle story that also appears to include an ex-Tory minister, I sometimes throw my hands up in despair. These things are out in the (UK) open, as far as they are allowed to be open if we think of what the Waterhouse Inquiry into the North Wales homes failed to reveal, but what is lurking there unseen. I shudder even contemplating it. In a way I hope at times that the habit of these things coming like London buses, three or four at a time, would take a decade off and instead the entire sectoral workforce that is meant to deal with it actually do something rather than just running round mopping up after press exposées.

Done…not dont some reading…doh!

Excuse the absence…its 5th November and I am in the UK…! Ive dont some reading on this subject today after listening to the report and yes, its a problem throughout Europe…you are right the UK is no worse than the others…but we are good at identifying problems…sometimes way after the problem (latest allegations tonight on abuse of kids in a home in the 60s and 70s including a claim of a bunch of paedophiles with a Tory MP mentioned)Does make me wonder what kind of world we live in.

Katie, I have just said it to Carol here. I wish I knew. Basically I would like most of all to see governments put up their hands and admit they are not in control. Perhaps, and I am chancing my arm daring to say this, they should just accept the young people and integrate them into the population rather than dragging it out with years of attempting to get permanent resident status and eventually naturalisation, both of which are quite costly and time consuming. I am certain I shall be getting flack for daring to say that but it is a solution for all of that. As for the social problems, like the prostitution and so on, well sadly 'our' own children are in the same situation too and it seems timely that we are being reminded of just how many people there are (yes, mainly men) who sexually exploit and abuse children and youth. Four decades of looking and I am no nearer the clues let alone the answers but I shall persist on reminding people time and time again so that it cannot be conveniently swept under the carpet.

Oh Carol, it is my point about the almost wasted 40 plus years of my life... In that sense at least, numbers of unaccompanied children have increased everywhere. Through Europe generally. The UK is no different to anywhere else in mainland Europe with the exception that the countries of continental Europe are far more accessible. The eternal cycle that the 'street children' world works with is get them back to the families. It is the ideal. Where are the buggers then? The kids often can't or won't say and in far too many cases they are better off away from them. Under age 18 they are protected by international law on unaccompanied minors, so will not be returned to their place of origin even if it is known without their consent. Very few do ask to go home. Many wait until they are 18 then if stateless apply for permission to stay indefinitely. Deport them where if you don't know whether they are from Morocco or Algeria, Afghanistan or Pakistan, etc...

More tolerant countries than the UK, such as the Netherlands, have a large problem in proportion to their far smaller population to begin with. Germany has had this problem for many years, part of the reason I had my fellowship in Berlin until 1989. After the East Bloc 'collapsed' there was a kind of 'tidal wave', it has not stopped yet in Germany. If we had the time and space and I did not wish to go to bed in a few minutes, then I would give you journal references and so on, you might have to stretch your language skills a bit.

Carol, as ever I punched hard by saying D Mail, I know very well you are above reading that rag of course. I was making a point about that line I put in quotes that is entirely without substance. It is the easy explanation, governments like easy explanations because it saves them needing to do anything substantive about the problem. My OH is working with people here, anthropologists and sociologists, who are looking at exactly the same phenomenon here. On Wednesday she is going to Geneva for a meeting on the same problem in Switzerland that they are sweeping under the carpet but a large foundation just paid her to look at. Now they need to open up and own up. Nice, squeaky clean Switzerland Carol, with a population less than London but what is proportionately a bigger problem and prostitution seems to be at the heart of it.

It is all very dirty. All countries have to own up. I suspect that some European countries are worse than others. Where I can put my hand on my heart and say the UK does win hands down is by once the problem is known it is open, accepts it and reports it. But the blo*dy governments of any persuasion never does a thing about it, just like everywhere else. I despair and yet I shall not throw in the towel until I am gaga or in a box, but the better way has never walked into my life (yet) and if it did, who would believe me or act on it?