Asylum Seeking Children 

"Asylum Seeking Children"

 - 'Including Adolescent Development and the Assessment of Age' -

With Forewords to the various sections by Professor Richard MacKenzie (Los Angeles) ; Professor Hatim Omar (Kentucky);  Leila Birch (Drama Director); Dr Brian Sutton PhD (Glasgow) and Epilogue by Joan Carles-Suris (Lausanne). 

‘Asylum’  Seeking Children  -

Including Adolescent Development and The Assessment Of Age


By Dr Diana Birch    ISBN 1 870717 22 8  First Published April 2010




This is a sad but fascinating look at what is, unfortunately, becoming a growing problem in the world.  This book represents the most comprehensive collection of data on adolescent growth & development I've ever seen.  It's sure to become a standard forensic text for years to come."

Victor Strasburger, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine, Univ. of New Mexico School of Medicine, USA


“This book excites me as a fabulous piece of work which I love for the connections made, on behalf of refugee children everywhere, linking humanitarian considerations with professional concerns. I am impressed by the use made (always) of the creative arts as an integral part of good adolescent health practice, and the messages of compassion and advocacy for these particular children and young people that it brings to the world. Importantly, the explanations about the importance of assessing age and how this can be done in expert hands, contribute to knowledge both within our field and beyond.”

Clinical Professor David Bennett AO; Head, New South Wales Centre for the Advancement of Adolescent Health

“Diana Birch's work with refugee youth, providing them with cameras and the artistic means to tell their stories, is powerful and moving.  These youth have often survived traumas that would give the average family nightmares for life.  Dr. Birch's work provides creative outlets, role modelling for resiliency, and hope.” 

Ellen Rome MD MPH Associate Professor Pediatrics, Associate Chief of Staff and Head Division of Adolescent Health Cleveland

"There are occasions when the age of a child or young person is unknown, for example, in cases where asylum-seeking minors or trafficked individuals have been removed or kidnapped from their families, and, in order for welfare agencies located in the young person’s adopted country to assign to them the appropriate services or medical care, an estimate of the young person’s age is necessary.  Our research has shown that, in these cases, an accurate estimate of age can be achieved using a multifactorial assessment by an experienced paediatrician, which combines estimates of five parameters (physical growth, physical development, sexual development, maturation and emotional development), thus narrowing their ranges and reducing their standard deviations.  We have demonstrated that when a multifactorial assessment of this nature was carried out for 133 Afghan children, by an experienced paediatric assessor who was blind to the children’s actual ages, the estimate of the children’s ages was, overall, only 2 months adrift of their actual ages.  Our findings have underlined the robust and reliable nature of multifactorial age assessments by experienced paediatricians, and upholds the view held by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health that a paediatric assessment which uses an holistic approach is the most appropriate method to estimate age in young people".

Angela Brassett-Harknett BSc(Hons), MA(Hons) Guys and Maudsley

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