What is B-MAG? Why is it important?
B-MAG originated through the collaboration of The Victoria Climbié Foundation UK (VCF) and the Centre for Social Work Research (CSWR); it is a multidisciplinary working group which aims to promote good practice for safeguarding BME and migrant children, young people and families. The structure, membership and working practices are continuing to evolve.
B-MAG was formed in the immediate context of the Syrian migrant crisis of 2016-2017, and the closure of the Calais refugee camp and its aftermath. Publicity surrounding these events raised concerns about the need to provide care and protection for children, including unaccompanied minors, and their families. This immediate context of the migrant crisis brought attention to a continuing and contested process of migration to this country, and the needs for support for migrant people, and provides an important context for the provision of care and protection for services and authorities.
However, both VCF and CSWR separately, and together, for many years have been working to improve practice and policy for individuals in the BME and migrant communities. Based on these experiences, B-MAG was born through identifying the need for the needs of these children, young people and their families for care and protection.
These experiences recognise that to effectively safeguard these children and young people, there needs to be a focus that connects key themes and needs. These young people may have experiences of asylum seeking, having irregular legal status, being victims of child trafficking, sexual exploitation, modern slavery and torture. They can also be subject to harmful cultural practices such as female genital mutilation, and attributions of witchcraft and spirit possession. Some are vulnerable through having disabilities, and many have difficulties in being understood by organisations because of language barriers and gaps in knowledge when working across cultures.
B-MAG aims to provide a multi-disciplinary approach, that, through research, communication and campaigning, recognises and aims to ensure that the rights to care and protection for these children and young people are met, to the accepted standards of best practice.
B-MAG also recognises that the need for care and protection are crucial, not only in the immediate and short term, but also through long term support and investment. Longer term needs are to ensure that children, young people and families are helped to alleviate the effects of experiencing adverse circumstances, materially, emotionally, and socially, so that they do not have to endure the effects of external and internal poverty, and cultural and political misunderstanding and discrimination.
Therefore, B-MAG has identified a role that is vital, and not currently undertaken by other existing groups of focusing on the safeguarding of these children, young people and families, with regard to migration experiences, issues of faith and culture, and politically, especially in relation to the security question of radicalisation.
Our forthcoming annual report describes work undertaken by the group to-date and strategic planning for the year ahead.