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Children from all backgrounds might need the love and support of a foster carer at some time. But this is especially true of child refugees or unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.
Children from all backgrounds might need the love and support of a foster carer at some time. But this is especially true of child refugees or unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (sometimes referred to as UASC).
The Home Office’s definition of an unaccompanied asylum-seeking child is: 'children outside their country of origin to seek asylum in the United Kingdom, are separated from parents and relatives, and are not in the care of someone responsible for doing so.'
UASCs are often over 15, but some are younger.
The majority are boys who come from various countries. Recent countries include Afghanistan, Iran, Eritrea, Somalia, and China. Conflict zones such as Syria also result in children leaving their home countries.
UASC have the right to a school place. They need access to medical appointments, counselling services, and a safe and stable household.
Foster carers have an important part to play in supporting young refugees through the asylum process, from helping with practical issues such as ensuring young people are supported to attend meetings and interviews with their solicitor and the Home Office to emotional support for children and young people going through the asylum system, which is extremely stressful.
You are providing the young people with safety, support, and a chance to recover from the trauma they experienced in their past. In turn, this will give the young people the necessary tools to take on the challenges that lie ahead.
A 15-year-old unaccompanied asylum seeker came to our care two years ago. When we first met him, we found that he could not speak one English word. When we greeted him in his first language, he was thrilled as if he was lost and then found himself again. He was illiterate in his first language with no previous knowledge of schooling.
But, with our support and effort, he has managed to turn his life around. He attended school and is doing well. He is planning to go to college next September. We are proud of him, and he has a real future ahead of him.
Short-term fostering is when a child or young person temporarily lives with a foster carer. At the same time, longer-term preparations are established for their fostering or when the time is right for them to return to the care of their birth family.
Therapeutic fostering is specialised for children and young people who endured trauma before being placed in care.
Parent and Child fostering is about young families together, where a parent and child stay with you when they need extra support. In most cases, the child is very young.