Sahil’s Story – Seeking stability, not separation

Sahil came to the UK with his little brother, confused, isolated and distrusting. He's now 17, studying for A levels, whilst living with his brother in a children's unit. But now, once more, Sahil is being told he must leave everything he knows.

Sahil's advocate helped him challenge the decision and fought for him to remain where he was.

Sahil came to the UK with his younger brother when he was 14 years of age as an unaccompanied asylum seeker. He had no other family or support around him. He did not speak English and as a child in a foreign country he felt afraid, confused, isolated and distrusting. He was placed in a specialist Children's Unit where he settled in well and made friends.

Sahil has made tremendous progress at school and has been praised by his teachers and peers as a model student. 

Sahil contacted VoiceAbility in October 2016 for support because he had been notified that he would have to leave his placement as he had turned 17 years of age.  Sahil met with his advocate and they offered him support and help. They talked to Sahil about his concerns for himself and for his little brother.  

Sahil was extremely concerned and worried because he did not feel he was ready for independent living, particularly as there had been no consultation with him. Although he is doing well in his studies, Sahil is midway through his A Levels, and was afraid that he wouldn't be able to continue his education if he was made to leave the unit. And he was especially worried about his brother. They don't have any other family in the UK and rely on each other completely. Sahil did not want to leave his brother alone and was very distressed about the possibility.

Sahil's advocate wrote to the Head of Service on behalf Sahil expressing his concerns, wishes and feelings. They were able to highlight the Council’s own policy on not disrupting educational attainment and backed up their challenge with legal safeguards.

The initial response was negative, but after direct discussions with the Head of Service the decision to move Sahil was reversed. Plans are now in place for more detailed discussions with Sahil to allow a transition and support future independent living.

Sahil is very happy with the outcome and is now completing his studies without fear of being moved or separated from his brother.