Hoping for a better tomorrow’: a qualitative study of stressors, informal social support and parental coping in a Direct Provision centre in the West of Ireland

Lisa Moran, Sheila Garrity, Caroline McGregor, Carmel Devaney

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Abstract

This paper focuses on informal social support and coping amongst parents living in a Direct Provision (DP) reception centre in the rural west of Ireland. Since 2000, asylum seekers in Ireland are subject to DP where the state provides accommodation and food to asylum seeking families, and a small supplementary allowance. Despite calls for its abandonment and that it constitutes ‘citizenship based discrimination’, DP features prominently in Irish policy on asylum seeking. Drawing on qualitative interview materials from an evaluation of childcare services in one asylum seeker reception centre, we argue that children living in DP are frequently exposed to risky behaviours, and that the DP system adversely affects children’s resilience, stifling their educational, emotional and social development. In Ireland, supports for families and children living in DP are relatively weak, and despite protests for enhancing asylum seekers’ rights in housing and employment, asylum seekers interviewed for this study feel abandoned by the state. Instead, they rely heavily on local services for emotional and financial supports to cope with living conditions in DP. The paper argues for a culturally responsive approach to policy-making that is grounded in human rights and family support which recognizes the importance of community services in providing emotional and practical supports to parents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
JournalJournal of Family Studies
Early online date24 Jan 2017
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Jan 2017

Keywords

  • Direct provision
  • parenting
  • stressors
  • coping
  • social support

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