There is a real shortage of fostering families who can offer unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) a safe refuge. Often, these children have arrived from countries that have been war-torn, or in conflict zones and these children have often been affected by traumatic experiences. Many unaccompanied asylum seeking children in the UK have travelled for miles to escape horrific incidents in their home country.
What do we mean by ‘fostering UASC’?
These children have fled their home without the protection of their birth parents or family. They are alone, in an unfamiliar country and are likely to be surrounded by people unable to speak their first language. Many unaccompanied and trafficked children arrive in the UK without documentation or with fake documents. Where the age of a person is uncertain and there are reasons to believe that the person is a child, that person is presumed to be a child in order to receive immediate access to assistance, support and protection. Where an age assessment is required, local authorities will arrange this.
Because of the circumstances these highly vulnerable children have faced, unaccompanied or trafficked children often have complex needs in addition to those faced by looked after children in the UK, more generally.
The role of a UASC foster carer
A child may require support such as coming to terms with family loss or adapting to cultural changes; but ultimately these are children or young teenagers that need a secure and safe place to live and to understand that they are not alone.
Compass Fostering already have a number of foster carers that provide a safe home and as a foster carer for Compass will help you access resources to assist you in caring for children seeking asylum.
In the wonderful multicultural society we live in today, there are opportunities for foster carers to provide links to their wider community such as trips to the mosque and churches of all denominations. Some young people will have little or no command of the English language and we will help seek links with specialist agencies. It is important to respect their cultural beliefs and religion but ultimately shelter, protection and love is what they will need.
Read one of our carer’s experiences and advice for fostering UASC.