Direct Provision as Aftercare for Aged-Out Separated Children Seeking Asylum in Ireland

33 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2016 Last revised: 21 Feb 2017

See all articles by Muireann Ni Raghallaigh

Muireann Ni Raghallaigh

University College Dublin (UCD)

Liam Thornton

UCD Sutherland School of Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 15, 2015


Ireland’s approach to after-care for ‘aged-out’ separated children is problematic. Currently, upon reaching the age of 18, most separated young people are moved to ‘direct provision’, despite the fact that the State can use discretionary powers to allow them to remain in foster care. Direct provision is the system Ireland adopts providing bed and board to asylum seekers, along with a weekly monetary payment. Separated young people in Ireland are in a vulnerable position after ageing out. Entry into the direct provision system, from a legal and social work perspective, is concerning. Utilising direct provision as a ‘form of aftercare’ emphasises Governmental policy preferences that privilege the migrant status of aged-out separated children, as opposed to viewing this group as young people leaving care. Utilising a cross disciplinary approach, this article reviews the literature to critically analyse these issues from socio-legal and social work perspectives. This analysis will be placed in the context of primary qualitative research with experiences of separated children and young people and key stakeholders. This article concludes, that the administrative and legal approaches to aged-out separated children tend to limit the ability of the State to provide adequate aftercare supports to these young people. Ultimately, their migrant status is privileged over their status as care leavers.

Keywords: aftercare, aged out separated children, direct provision, Ireland, asylum seekers, law, social work practice

Suggested Citation

Ni Raghallaigh, Muireann and Thornton, Liam, Direct Provision as Aftercare for Aged-Out Separated Children Seeking Asylum in Ireland (December 15, 2015). UCD Working Papers in Law, Criminology & Socio-Legal Studies Research Paper No. 11, Available at SSRN: or

Muireann Ni Raghallaigh

University College Dublin (UCD) ( email )

Belfield, Dublin 4 4

Liam Thornton (Contact Author)

UCD Sutherland School of Law ( email )

L129 UCD Sutherland School of Law
Dublin 4
00 353 1 716 4129 (Phone)


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