Evidence-based support for UAS children

These children have often overcome significant and unique challenges in search of a safe environment, facing distressing and sometimes traumatic events before attempting to adjust to unfamiliar settings. 

In March 2023, more than 7,000 unaccompanied asylum-seeking (UAS) children were recorded as living in England – but we don’t always know how best to support them. 

This is particularly true in relation to wellbeing support, where these children often fall through the gaps of mental health provision. 

However, our new findings demonstrate how My View, a specialised therapeutic intervention developed by the Refugee Council, can have a positive impact on the wellbeing of UAS children.

We are calling for My View to be made more widely available, so that all children who would benefit are able to access the support they need and deserve.

Our recently published evaluation, conducted by Ipsos and the Centre for Evidence and Implementation, found that My View can reduce psychological distress and improve the wellbeing of UAS children, leading to improvements in mental health, social connections, sleep, diet, and relaxation. 

Young people also described how My View helped improve their mood and hopes for the future. 

These positive findings are extremely important, as UAS children are at higher risk of experiencing mental health problems than their peers, but often struggle to access support – or the support available lacks sensitivity to the realities of their lived experience. 

Our findings show an effective approach to improving their wellbeing that emphasises the importance of considering the specific needs of vulnerable children.

Investing in support that has been shown to work is essential if we are to ensure that all children are given the opportunity to thrive, and this cannot wait. 

With rising numbers of UAS children in England, and an increasing number of children in mental health crisis, it is imperative that the next government prioritises mental health and wellbeing support for children, and that this is grounded in high-quality evidence.

Foundations is the What Works Centre for Children & Families. See www.foundations.org.uk/our-work/reports/my-view/ for its evaluation of My View 


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