The immigration of Romanian Roma to Western Europe: Causes, effects and future engagement strategies. 2013-2017.

Roma migrants to the UK: ‘Misrecognition’, misunderstanding and post-migration social work and youth justice interventions

Margaret Greenfields

Buckinghamshire New University

This paper presents findings from a collaborative pilot study into Roma households’ experiences of contact with social work and youth offending teams in the UK. Key findings will be presented in relation to social work and youth offending practitioners’ concerns over their lack of knowledge of Roma populations, limited training opportunities and difficulties in accessing high quality translation services, as well as discussion of the ‘bridging’ role of civil society organisations who are party to the concerns and responses of both professionals and community members. Common responses from Roma households experiencing social work or youth offending engagement include voluntary return to the ‘home’ country of an entire household or the young person becoming cared for by relatives in their place of origin. Alternatively, problematic engagement may occur as a result of requirements imposed by state agencies which may be beyond a family’s ability to fulfil, or which (as a result to poor quality translation or lack of cultural competence amongst practitioners) may be interpreted as a wilful lack of engagement leading to enhanced enforcement. The presentation also explores policy recommendations for good practice and solutions which could enhance the wellbeing and social inclusion of marginalised Roma families whilst ensuring equality of access to services, and the availability of appropriate and culturally competent support for professionals tasked with working with Roma children and families in need.