Fostering unaccompanied asylum seeking children and young people
The UK has always been a destination of choice for people fleeing war and persecution and the UK has a long history of welcoming and supporting families and children arriving here. Fostering an unaccompanied young person is one way of helping in this crisis.
More and more refugees are entering the UK with many of the young people coming from Syria, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran. Most are boys aged between 15 and 17, although some are as young as 12. They arrive here alone and are often highly traumatised, with a high proportion suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
People who wish to foster an unaccompanied asylum-seeking child should contact a fostering service in their local area, use our search for a fostering service to locate a local fostering provider. Foster carers are subject to a full assessment of them, their family and their home. The process can take several months and includes health and criminal records checks to ensure the safety of the young person and the carers own family. Further details of the assessment process can be found here
More foster placements are needed in order to provide safe and stable homes and carers will need the resilience to deal with the reality of difference on a daily basis including ethnicity, language, culture, and religion.
There is no doubt that good foster care can make a positive difference in the lives of many unaccompanied young people. At its best, it provides warm family-like relationships that can be transformative for young people and foster families alike. Fostering is a challenging and worthwhile task and foster carers come to be seen as parent figures, confidantes and companions to the young people they care for.
Fosterline Advisors can explain the processes involved in becoming a foster carer; this is a good first step if you are unsure of what is involved or whether it is right for you. Telephone Fosterline Freephone number 0800 040 7675
Other ways to help:
Families including young children and babies needing accommodation are generally housed by local authorities or housing association under government-sponsored resettlement programmes. Volunteers are allocated to each family to help them find their way around, learn English, access health and education services, and generally acclimatise to life in the UK. If you want to volunteer, contact your local authority for details of programmes in your area.
Organisations working to support refugee families include:
The most effective way to help in the short term is by donating money to organisations who are working on the ground with refugees.