Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children

At Olive Branch, our foster families provide love and support for children and young people from many different backgrounds. Stability is one of the most important factors to help young people thrive and is especially true of child refugees or unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (sometimes referred to as UASC).

Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are often teenagers, 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.

Due to their experiences prior to coming into care, these children and young people can suffer from various physical and psychological issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Therefore, this is a specialist placement that requires carefully considered planning and matching between a foster carer and a child looked after. 

“In some ways, taking on UASC can be very challenging. As many are from war-torn countries, their emotional needs can be greater. For instance, you have to understand they might not sleep at night and there are language and cultural barriers to overcome. It’s your role to welcome any child with open arms.” Safia, foster carer.

What does UASC fostering involve? 

All cjildren and young people have the right to a school place. Helping them with this transition into education is an important part of creating a stable environment with routines that also helps them meet other young people from your area.

These children and young people may also need access to medical appointments, counselling services, and support with learning English.

Foster carers also 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. 

Read Safia's experiences

We met with Safia, one of our foster carers in Oldham to ask about her experiences fostering asylum-seeking children.

Read Safia's story

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