We’d like to focus on Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC), and how valuable and life-changing this type of fostering can be.
What is UASC Fostering?
Let’s start with the stats. According to The Children’s Society, there are currently over 13 million child refugees in the world. Since 2016, over 9,000 unaccompanied children have applied for asylum in the UK.
Young people arrive in the UK unaccompanied by their birth parents or carers for a variety of reasons. It could be that their home country is experiencing a degree of civil unrest, with some children even being forced to fight for their country. Sadly, asylum seeking children could have witnessed some horrific scenes in their early life, possibly leading to emotional trauma. In addition, being separated from their birth parents or carers would have been highly stressful for them. Whatever their circumstances, it is a given that they will be feeling alone, tired and very vulnerable.
When these young people first arrive, they will go into the care of a local authority who will seek to place them with foster carers. These carers will require training and guidance in order to prepare them for any cultural and language considerations, as well as the specific trauma they may have experienced. Carers may also be required to support young people through the process of applying for permission to stay in the UK, or possibly even to prepare for their return.
UASC: a carers’ perspective
Fostering Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children can be extremely rewarding, and in some cases can help to heal some of the emotional damage that these young people arrive with. Val, who has been a TACT foster carer since 2008, said “When they come to me they are very tired, frightened and traumatised from the horrific and epic journey they have made to get to the UK. Stressed and unable to communicate properly with me, due to a lack of English, all they want is food, drink and a bed.
“The right food, clothing, and social opportunities are important day to day things that I make sure are available to them. I also actively teach them to speak English so that they are equipped to make the most of going to school and making new friends. I am incredibly proud of them. With care, consistency, expertise and love, fostering can transform children’s lives and help them heal from the trauma they have suffered and go on and achieve their potential.”
What support is available for foster carers for Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children?
TACT Fostering is committed to finding supportive and caring homes for Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children. This is why we urgently need foster carers across the UK who could make a real difference. TACT offer specialist training, and would ensure that carers feel totally confident and culturally aware of children’s backgrounds before being asked to provide a nurturing home. In addition, 24/7 support would always be available as and when required.
TACT understands the complexities of fostering unaccompanied asylum seeking children and as such all of our foster carers receive a competitive fostering fee and allowance when they have an asylum seeking child placed with them.
Find out more about fostering UASC here.