About the Supported Options Initiative

Supported Options is a special initiative of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, delivered in partnership with Unbound Philanthropy. It encourages and supports innovation in helping children and young people with irregular immigration status in the UK to live full lives. It does this by grant-funding a small number of charities and law centres to collaborate with others in designing and operating new approaches. It also seed-funds new ideas and commissions research on knowledge gaps. It shares learning through reports, online blogs and web resources, and supports a practitioner network.

The Supported Options Initiative has three aims: first, increased citizenship registration of marginalised UK-born children; second, improved support to young people with irregular immigration status to explore their options and make choices about their future. The third initiative aim is to understand the experiences of young people and share this and practical responses with practitioners and policy makers.

This initiative was established in 2010 in response to the fact that children and young people with irregular immigration status can be extremely vulnerable, yet unable to access the help and support available to other young people. An estimated 120,000 children in the UK have no legal status so are undocumented or irregular. Lack of legal status blocks them from fulfilling their potential and many experience barriers to health, education, work and social welfare. They need assistance to address their legal status or to consider leaving the UK, but sources of specialist support are scarce and mainstream organisations are not equipped to help, a situation exacerbated by cuts to legal aid for immigration work in 2013. There are routes in to regular status, but the process can be lengthy and expensive.

For more information please contact the Initiative Coordinator, Sarah Cutler at undoc[at]phf.org.uk