Children first? The Significance of Child-Oriented Social Welfare Reports for Legal Decision-Making in Asylum Procedures
Keywords:UNCRC, asylum procedure, best interests of the child, children's rights, welfare reports
This study explores the impact of child-focused social welfare reports on legal decision-making in cases involving children and families seeking asylum in The Netherlands. The Best Interest of the Child Questionnaire (BIC-Q), based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, was designed to assess the developmental prospects of refugee children in different places of residence. In 70 cases of asylum-seeking children, BIC-Q data were used as input for reports aimed at supporting them in the judicial process. The families' solicitors introduced the reports in the legal proceedings. In 87 per cent of the cases, these were taken into account. In those cases where a final decision was made concerning residence rights (n = 30), analyses were made of the reports' impact using the minutes of the internal discussions. The results show the significance of these reports for decision-making in line with the UNCRC.