Unaccompanied & Refugee Children

At Welcome Foster care unaccompanied and refugee children are placed with us by different Local Authorities on a regular basis. As an agency we have a commitment to improving the life chances of young people who require “looked after” accommodation.

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.

There are a large number of refugees entering the UK with many of the young people coming from Syria, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Albania 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.

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, food, culture and religion.

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.

It can be challenging at first to have a child or young person who is unable to communicate with you, adjust to your family and lifestyle but with patience and time you will see how quickly children learn.

We support our foster carers very closely to look after unaccompanied and refugee children and young people. Our training covers topics to help foster carers:

  • understand the legal status and position of unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children
  • identify the complex and diverse needs of this group of children and the possible ways of meeting these needs
  • understand the impact of the “refugee-making” process and the role of carers in this
  • describe the impact of trauma, loss and separation on children and young people
  • consider the impact on carers and the specific skills that may be needed to care for unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children.

Real Life Story from a Welcome Foster Carer…

“The arrival of an unaccompanied minor in October 2015, began one of many new experiences I have encountered since becoming a foster carer three years ago. It has been a different experience compared to fostering British teenagers.

Our foster child, a 15-year-old boy, arrived in our home the same day he entered the UK. He recounted his journey into the UK with us. It had taken him one month to enter the UK from leaving his village in Afghanistan. When he came to us he could not speak any English, however Abul, my husband, could communicate with him in Urdu.

The challenges faced were not monumental but it was difficult to enable him to become familiar with daily activities such as self-care to integrating with us. This was overcome quickly. We were fortunate enough to be able to enrol him in to school within a month where he was able to make friends with boys from his own background, allowing him to feel more confident to attend school. We understood that this was a new experience and being away from home and his family can make him worried, so we have been guiding him to make him feel comfortable and safe.

The strategies used with him are the same as any other foster child, where Abul played a key role in guiding him and assisting him in learning new skills. Overall it has been a rewarding experience as we have been able to see how he has adjusted himself to learn English, become familiar with this new environment and make the most of the opportunities that are available.”

Jashia Ahmed, Welcome Foster Carer

If you would like to contact us to discuss further the opportunities to foster unaccompanied & refugee children with Welcome Foster Care, please feel free to speak to one of our team in Recruitment on 020 3397 3332 or click here and we’ll call you back.

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