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. This being said, when a child is placed with a foster family there is a matching process which will take into consideration the heritage of the child and how the foster carer would support this and promote the child’s culture, language and identity.
There is no doubt that good foster care can make a positive difference to 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.
Community Sponsorship Scheme for Refugees in the UK
The Government has committed to resettling 20,000 vulnerable Syrian refugees before 2020 and are on target to meet our goal. People in the UK have responded magnificently to welcome those in need into their communities.
January 2017 marks six months since the launch of the Community Sponsorship scheme, which enables local community groups to go further in offering their direct support to refugees. The Governments want to encourage more groups to sign up and join this movement.
The Community Sponsorship scheme enables community groups including charities, faith groups, churches and businesses, to take on the role of supporting resettled refugees in the UK.
A ‘Help Refugees in the UK’ webpage has been developed on GOV.UK to make it easier for the public to support refugees in the UK and allow local authorities to focus support on the goods and services that refugees need.
Sponsoring organisations must have status as either a registered charity or community interest company, the consent of the local authority in which they wish to operate, and a comprehensive plan for resettlement, in order to apply for the scheme. The Home Office will consider all offers of sponsorship before passing them to local authorities for clearance.
All Syrian refugees arriving in the UK, including those under Full Community Sponsorship will have been through a thorough security vetting process.
Sponsors will be responsible for providing housing for the refugee family, as well as helping them to integrate into life in the UK, access medical and social services, arranging English language tuition and supporting them towards employment and self-sufficiency.
How to help
Community Sponsorship is about bringing communities together to welcome families in need – find out more about the scheme and how to get involved by following the link below.