Ebony King


This exploratory study analysed the role of service providers in supporting the resilience of unaccompanied asylum seeking minors (UAMs) in Australia and Nauru. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 former UAMs (aged 19-34 years) and 21 service providers to explore what helps separated young people cope, adapt, positively develop and achieve good outcomes in contexts of adversity.

Preliminary analysis of interviews suggests that service providers supported UAM’s resilience through mobilising resources and providing access to services and opportunities that the young people found meaningful and relevant to their needs and priorities. Of central importance to separated young people was the need for connection, particularly with kind and empathetic adults who took a genuine and active interest in them.

A sense of agency, purpose and belonging to Australia and its communities were also supportive of resilience. The greatest challenges for both UAMs and service providers largely related to the restrictions of increasingly punitive federal government policies.

The ability of UAMs and their social and physical ecologies to support resilience processes was significantly undermined by distal decisions in legislation and policy designed in the context of anti-asylum-seeker (and more specifically, ‘boat people’) political and public sentiment.


Ebony King is a PhD Candidate at Griffith University’s School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science. Ebony is passionate about an evidence-based approach to developing policy and practice that facilitates the social-ecological resilience of young people with asylum seeker, refugee, migrant and out-of-home care backgrounds.

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