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Family Tracing

sad USAC for family tracing

A true account written by one of our foster carers regarding the young person placed with her finding his family:

I currently care for 2 unaccompanied asylum seekers, both from Afghanistan. After a few months of being in the UK, myself and one of the boys approached the Red Cross family tracing service to see if they could help trace his family back in Afghanistan. A few meeting took place, maps drawn, names of people and places forwarded on to the Red Cross workers in Afghanistan. My YP was very concerned about his family as he had no idea of what had happened to his family, after he had fled. After 11 months of waiting last week we got a very rushed, excited call from the Red Cross; stating they have a very strong lead on a family and believe it to be my YP’s family. The next morning first thing we went to the Red Cross, where they spoke with my YP and then made the call..

After 20 months of having no idea about his family, he got to speak to his mum, brothers and other family members! They were all safe and well and were looking for him, with help from a charity in Pakistan.

It was an amazing moment to witness, and to be a part of the whole process. The relief and absolute joy on my YP’s face, will stay with me forever. They have exchanged numbers and emails with the help of the Red Cross, so they can maintain contact.

When my other YP arrived in the UK 12 months ago, he knew he had a brother in the UK. Although he had no idea where in the country he was, as there had been no contact for seven years!

After my YP had been in the UK for a couple of months he started to find other Afghan boys, and realised there was quite a big community of people from Afghanistan. He started to ask around about his brother, although he had no date of birth and their surnames were different. I got a phone number for the elder of the Afghan community and spoke with him on the phone. He had been expecting my call, as he had heard about a boy looking for his brother. To my surprise he knew my YP’s brother as he himself had been in foster care in the same city! But was now living independently 25 miles away. I passed on my number to the elder, and less than 24 hours later my YP’s brother called me!

This again was an amazing moment. After a few checks were done, and social workers were happy, they were reunited in my house. They had been separated for seven long years, and NEVER thought they would see each other again! They now have regular contact and are very happy.

I wanted to write these two incredible stories to encourage and give hope to any other person looking for family or friends. It IS possible and please don’t give up trying.

By Shanine – Foster Carer Compass Central


Manchester Attack

On Monday evening, 22 people were tragically killed and dozens more injured after a bomb exploded at the Manchester Arena; many of them were children.

Compass Community wanted to show the people of Manchester that they are not alone and have donated to the Manchester Evening News Fund which was set up to help support the families of those killed and injured in the aftermath of the attack. Our thoughts are with these families.

If you’d also like to donate, please see:  http://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/westandtogethermanchester


Fostering UASC – A Foster Carer’s Perspective

A Carer’s perspective on Fostering UASC (Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children) from Syria.

 

What is happening in Syria?

Well, in a nutshell, the country’s leader and army decided to declare war on his own people, so the country’s army is shelling and bombing every civilian target there is. During this, families have lost their homes, or left for safety to neighbouring countries. Many decided to take a leap of faith and migrate further looking for safety. The numbers of refugees are now in the millions so now the Syrian problem is a worldwide problem and not just a regional one.

 

Caring for Muslim youngsters? Are you nuts? What about ISIS…

Ok here is a bit of news; ISIS has around 20,000 members, mostly adult male fighters who are spread between Iraq and Syria. The Syrian population is 22 million, making the chances of you getting an ISIS child NIL. A refugee child is a scared individual looking for a safe place to call home.

 

But the child comes with no history? How do I know who am I taking?

Legitimate concern, but let’s take a look at the children we already care for now. They often come as an emergency placement, sometimes with no history or an inflated one as logs are often made by professionals trying to protect their backs. You still take that child and then problem solve as you have him or her in your household,

As carers we are always taking risks with who we take in our homes and that is a part of the job. Syrian children are no different to that, they come with the advantage that they mostly have had positive parenting before this war. They are respectful and full of gratitude – I know a few carers who will only take asylum seekers because of the level of respect they offer.

 

How about culture differences and diet restrictions, it’s going to be a nightmare?

Humanity is universal; Stick to this faith and you will be fine. The smile is an international language, it speaks louder than any words.

 

Here are a few tips that can help bridge the culture gap:

Halal Diet: No alcohol, meaning no alcohol, including cooking sauces and to any product that has alcohol as part of its manufacturing process. EXCLUDING MEDICINE. If in doubt always go vegetarian where possible, the kids will not mind, in fact they will love you for including them at meal times.

No pork, No Ham, No Bacon. This also extends to any product made from pig such as pork gelatine sweets. If you wish to educate yourself further on Halal diet you can do so, but sticking to these basic roles would be a great help.

Toilet habits may be slightly different as well. Muslims wash with water every time they use the toilet. Having a small garden water jug under the sink would make a child’s life a lot easier. These can be bought from home bargains, B&Q and even the Pound Shop. Remember they would not like to use toilet paper and there is a slight chance that the child may not be familiar with a toilet seat. In general Syria uses a different concept of toilet seats, it wouldn’t harm using sign langue to explain the flushing and the general rituals of the toilet, male to male and female to female demonstration would be more sensitive to the cultural gap. Hold the jug and tell them it is ok to use it.

Dogs and pets are fine, but if you notice that your child is praying it would help them to keep the dog out of the their room as they would need to keep that space a pet free zone.

 

Where can I get more help?

Check your local mosque, there is likely to be one you didn’t know about nearby. If not there are plenty of communities and literature online that can help. The council would be also be a good starting point. Any questions please don’t hesitate to ask and thank you once more for the job you are doing :).

You are amazing as they keep telling you, you really are.

Malek Haddad
Foster carer Compass Fostering


Compass Carer Wins Fostering Award

We are delighted to be able to congratulate Karen Haddad on winning the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Fostering Award’ with FosterTalk.

Fostering Award

Karen Haddad from Bolton has won the Outstanding Contribution to Fostering Award at the annual FosterTalk Foster Carer Awards in recognition of her dedication and commitment to the children and young people in her care.

Edward Timpson, Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families, opened the ceremony and Karen received her award from World Champion and Olympic medallist sprinter, Jamie Baulch, who was in care himself until he was adopted at six months old, and Debbie Douglas star of TOWIE, foster carer, and government ambassador for fostering.

Karen, who has fostered with Compass Fostering for seven years, together with her husband Malek, currently has two young people in her care, alongside her birth daughter Amani. She was nominated for the award by foster daughter, Maariyah. Commenting on why she feels Karen is so deserving of this award, Maariyah said:

“When I first came into care seven years ago, it was life changing. Karen treated us like we were her children and she so deserves this award. I read about last year’s awards and decided then to nominate Karen for the amazing amount of effort she puts into helping us do whatever we want to do.
“Karen has the kindest nature I have ever seen in any person, she is so comfortable to be around and makes you relaxed and at ease. She talks to you and wants to know how your day went and what went wrong – she is always there when you need her and motivates you to do the best you can. That’s what I call care.”

Now in its third year, the FosterTalk awards highlight how foster carers are fundamental in turning young people’s lives around and Karen is dedicated to doing just that.
“I was so surprised when I heard about this award and delighted! The house has been buzzing since we heard, but it’s really for all of us as we’re a fostering family. We’ve fostered for seven years and all of us have thrived as a result. We’ve all learned so much from one another and it has made our family full of life and laughter. We started fostering because my birth daughter, Amani, was an only one and I wanted her to grow up with other children and we’ve never looked back.” Karen explained.
Karen continued: “For me, fostering is about opening up as many opportunities as possible to help the children have the best chance in life. This award is the icing on the cake for all of us.”

karen haddad

Bernie Gibson, managing director of Compass Fostering, said:
“Karen is such a worthy winner of this award and it is particularly special that she was nominated by Maariyah. She has invested so much in creating a happy and thriving family environment and we are delighted to see her efforts being recognised.
“Being a foster carer is so rich in rewards and I’m pleased to see the dedication of carers being acknowledged in such a positive way with these awards.”
Edward Timpson, Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families, said:
“As someone who grew up with over 80 foster siblings, I have seen first-hand that a stable and nurturing home environment is essential to helping children achieve their potential. Foster carers make a huge impact on children’s lives, and the awards highlight the incredible commitment and love that families like these bring to fostering some of our most vulnerable children across the country.”

Melody Douglas, managing director of FosterTalk, comments: “Working with foster carers every day, we see the enormous commitment and positive difference they make to the children and young people in their care. We’re delighted to be presenting these awards for the third consecutive year to shine a light on some of the inspiring achievements of foster carers across the UK and celebrate the work that all carers do to give the children in their care a safe, stable home and access to life-changing opportunities.

“We had hundreds of entries which made it very hard for our judges, but this award for Karen is well deserved. Not only has she made a difference to the children in her care, but she actively encourages others to think about fostering and we hope that our awards inspire other people to consider becoming foster carers too.”

FosterTalk helps more than 30,000 foster carers nationwide, working alongside over 190 fostering services in the support of their foster carers. FosterTalk’s membership package offers a range of support to foster carers including tax and benefits advice, legal advice as well as counselling. Visit www.fostertalk.org for more information.

 


Fostering UASC – A Foster Carer’s Perspective

A Carer’s perspective on Fostering UASC (Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children) from Syria.

 

What is happening in Syria?

Well, in a nutshell, the country’s leader and army decided to declare war on his own people, so the country’s army is shelling and bombing every civilian target there is. During this, families have lost their homes, or left for safety to neighbouring countries. Many decided to take a leap of faith and migrate further looking for safety. The numbers of refugees are now in the millions so now the Syrian problem is a worldwide problem and not just a regional one.

 

Caring for Muslim youngsters? Are you nuts? What about ISIS…

Ok here is a bit of news; ISIS has around 20,000 members, mostly adult male fighters who are spread between Iraq and Syria. The Syrian population is 22 million, making the chances of you getting an ISIS child NIL. A refugee child is a scared individual looking for a safe place to call home.

 

But the child comes with no history? How do I know who am I taking?

Legitimate concern, but let’s take a look at the children we already care for now. They often come as an emergency placement, sometimes with no history or an inflated one as logs are often made by professionals trying to protect their backs. You still take that child and then problem solve as you have him or her in your household,

As carers we are always taking risks with who we take in our homes and that is a part of the job. Syrian children are no different to that, they come with the advantage that they mostly have had positive parenting before this war. They are respectful and full of gratitude – I know a few carers who will only take asylum seekers because of the level of respect they offer.

 

How about culture differences and diet restrictions, it’s going to be a nightmare?

Humanity is universal; Stick to this faith and you will be fine. The smile is an international language, it speaks louder than any words.

 

Here are a few tips that can help bridge the culture gap:

Halal Diet: No alcohol, meaning no alcohol, including cooking sauces and to any product that has alcohol as part of its manufacturing process. EXCLUDING MEDICINE. If in doubt always go vegetarian where possible, the kids will not mind, in fact they will love you for including them at meal times.

No pork, No Ham, No Bacon. This also extends to any product made from pig such as pork gelatine sweets. If you wish to educate yourself further on Halal diet you can do so, but sticking to these basic roles would be a great help.

Toilet habits may be slightly different as well. Muslims wash with water every time they use the toilet. Having a small garden water jug under the sink would make a child’s life a lot easier. These can be bought from home bargains, B&Q and even the Pound Shop. Remember they would not like to use toilet paper and there is a slight chance that the child may not be familiar with a toilet seat. In general Syria uses a different concept of toilet seats, it wouldn’t harm using sign langue to explain the flushing and the general rituals of the toilet, male to male and female to female demonstration would be more sensitive to the cultural gap. Hold the jug and tell them it is ok to use it.

Dogs and pets are fine, but if you notice that your child is praying it would help them to keep the dog out of the their room as they would need to keep that space a pet free zone.

 

Where can I get more help?

Check your local mosque, there is likely to be one you didn’t know about nearby. If not there are plenty of communities and literature online that can help. The council would be also be a good starting point. Any questions please don’t hesitate to ask and thank you once more for the job you are doing :).

You are amazing as they keep telling you, you really are.

Malek Haddad
Foster carer Compass Fostering