Talking heads

Why asylum seeker parents are scared of social workers – mending the gaps between us

Authored by: Nada Abdulla , Bini Araia , Helen Casey , Ibrahim Dialllo , Anna Makoni , Yvonne Mondiwa , Elaine Spencer , Luwam Tekeste

The Routledge Handbook of Service User Involvement in Human Services Research and Education

Print publication date:  August  2020
Online publication date:  August  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138360143
eBook ISBN: 9780429433306
Adobe ISBN:


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Social workers are often misunderstood by the general public as professionals who remove people’s children, an image which has been fuelled by biased and inaccurate media reporting (The Guardian, 2018). This is the message asylum seeker parents absorb when they arrive into UK communities. This chapter was co-written with parents who participated in a mend the gap programme which helped to break down myths and cultural barriers to promote better understanding of each other’s roles. Outcomes from this approach to learning together led to influencing home office accommodation guidance and new, improved housing provision to single asylum seeker parents with young children in Teesside. Participants conclude that mend the gap is an effective approach to promoting dialogue, building trust and redressing the balance of power within communities where refugees and asylum seekers live.

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