Welcome Foster Care News

Experience of an unaccompanied minor travelling to the UK:

“My father paid an acquaintance some money so that he could help me get to the UK”

I don’t want to  go and leave my family.  Things are really bad  in the country. Everyone is being killed and everywhere there is lots of screaming. People are crying for help. In the early hours of the morning I had to leave with father to meet this strange looking man and I  did not get a chance to say goodbye to my mother or sister.

I cannot take anything with me. I glanced at everyone for one last time and felt like my whole world was falling apart and no one to listen to me

We reach a strange place  and the man is waiting for us with lots of other men and young people like me. father handed him a pouch with money and said his last goodbye to me.

I am in a lorry with all these strangers and I am scared and I cry out but no one pays attention. Where am I going?  I’m hungry and haven’t eaten for days.

It’s like a nightmare and it’s been months and I’m missing my family a lot and I don’t know when this is going to end”

Advice from Amber, Placement Manager, to anyone who is thinking of fostering an unaccompanied minor:

There are many reasons why a child or young person may feel that they are no longer safe in their home country. It could be due to War, oppression and civil unrest and this can create situations and a fear of lives.

Asylum Seeking children have experienced persecution for their beliefs or because of their ethnic or social group.

Some may have seen adults they loved murdered, beaten tortured or raped; others may have their members of family disappeared without any warning or explanation.

Some come from a country where they would have been forced to fight as a child soldier if they remained.

The largest number of unaccompanied children, at the moment, come from Albania, followed by Eritrea and Afghanistan. Syria is in fourth place, with numbers increasing fast. In 2014, 90 per cent of unaccompanied children were over 14, and 88 percent were boys.

Alongside the task of caring for these children on a day to day basis, foster cares will also need  to support them through the process of applying for permission to stay in the UK and possibly to prepare for return.

Key points for foster carers to consider when thinking about fostering unaccompanied and asylum seeking children

  • Foster carers looking after unaccompanied children will require support from their fostering team so that they can offer stability and suitable care to these young people and children.
  • Fostering services must provide their carers training  in order to highlight the needs of unaccompanied children and the roles and responsibilities of the foster carer
  • Foster carers should make themselves culturally aware of the children’s backgrounds in order to understand their needs and issues.
  • Unaccompanied children are potentially mentally and emotionally scarred and need a lot of therapeutic support alongside nurturing and caring.
  • It is important for foster carers to find the right education provision for unaccompanied children and to help them to achieve and promote learning
  • Foster carers must support unaccompanied children to build on their self-esteem and friendships
  • Foster carers are required to provide a living space that provides safety and support
  • Unaccompanied and asylum seeking children need a place where their experiences are recognized but they are not pressured to talk about them if they do not want to.
  • Unaccompanied children who have come from abroad need to be placed somewhere that is appropriate in terms of language, culture and religion.
  • Some of the unaccompanied children that we have placed have described positive experiences of a foster carer if the children had felt a sense of belonging and inclusion in their foster family
  • Fostering teams and carers need to consider long term planning for life in the UK if the children receive indefinite leave to remain.
  • It’s important to consider return planning to prepare young people’s needs while they are in the UK without a longer term immigration status.
  • Young people seeking asylum need support in accessing good quality legal representation for their asylum applications

Soraiya’s story

Fostering Unaccompanied and Asylum Seeking Children - Soraiya

“When I was approved as a foster carer my first placement was an unaccompanied minor from Albania. I was anxious and excited at the same time,  I was still working part-time in a primary school and was wondering how I would juggle my work around fostering as I did not want to leave my job just in case fostering did not work out for me.

When my unaccompanied minor from Albania arrived with his social worker he arrived looking tired and having not bathed for weeks, he also had no extra clothes other than the dirty clothes he travelled in, I felt very sad seeing him like this and wanted to buy him clothes straight away. The social worker explained to me the terrible journey and experience he had endured during his journey on a lorry here including not eating well or sleeping well and having very little understanding of the English language.

I managed to use the online Google translator to communicate with him and explain what was going to be discussed with the social worker, such as basic house rules. When he first arrived, he had no friends and family support system which in turn meant he had no-one to turn to which had an impact on his mental and emotional welfare. He arrived not knowing what to expect, what sort of family he would be living with and what is expected of him, which was very overwhelming for him at first. I enrolled him in suitable college so he could make friends and study with children his age.

The looked after child had all his health checks and appointments made by me to make sure the child has no medical concerns and that all his immunisations are up to date. I also supported the looked after child with all his home office and solicitor appointments to make sure he applied for the appropriate immigration status and helped him to understand his legal rights.

My Albanian foster child stayed with me for one and a half years. He settled in comfortably and socialised well with my family and relatives, he picked up the English language and learnt about different cultures, we learnt a lot from his culture too. I enjoyed having him in my house and half way through fostering I left my part-time job and have continued fostering. I look forward to what the future holds, and helping the young children that are in need.”


There is a growing need for foster carers in the Tower Hamlets area – could you be one of the people that starts the journey towards meeting that need, today?

Could you foster in Tower Hamlets?

It’s important that we find people willing to foster in Tower Hamlets, as there are currently children in, and coming into care, requiring placements in this area. As a foster carer living in Tower Hamlets, and working with Welcome Foster Care, you will be helping to support a child/ren in need by maintaining stability and consistency for them. This will be enabled by you providing them with the vital care and nurture that they require, and helping them to maintain contact with the important people and resources in their lives.

For some children, important people will include their siblings, whom they may come into care with. As such, we are looking for carers who have the space to take on brothers and sisters, so we can keep the family together.

 

Our fostering team in Peckham

Karen W, one of our supervising social workers in the Tower Hamlets area, will support you on your fostering journey. Karen has over 20 years of experience in social work, having worked with children and families in poor rural communities; supporting young mothers needing advice and information and; working with children and young people with special needs and learning disabilities, and their families.

Since 2010, Karen has worked specifically in the fostering arena, supporting foster carers caring for children in need. Karen is dedicated to improving children s outcomes, and working with foster carers to make this possible.

 

Supporting children in Tower Hamlets

We regularly receive referrals, asking us to support young people in Tower Hamlets. In order for us to provide this, we require foster carers from all cultural backgrounds, as the children in need of your support are of many different ethnicities, cultures and religions. At the moment, there is a particular requirement for people that can foster sibling groups, and children of Bangladeshi origin.

 

About Welcome Foster Care

Welcome Foster Care is an independent fostering organisation with a focus on supporting families to foster in East and South East London. We have a very local team and diversity matters to us a lot, as do our carers and the children we support. We like to get to know our carers and we provide support 24/7. Our small, positive, charismatic team is full of energy and works hard to improve the lives of children with the support of carers across the local area. We speak 15 languages, and are readily available to answer any questions you may have.

If you would like to find out more about fostering in the Tower Hamlets area, give us a call on 0203 397 3332, and we’ll happily answer any questions you may have. Alternatively, you can complete our online enquiry form, and a member of our team will call you back.

 


When I was approved as a foster carer my first placement was an unaccompanied minor from Albania. I was anxious and excited at the same time,  I was still working part- time in a primary school and was wondering how I would juggle my work around fostering as I did not want to leave my job just in case fostering did not work out for me.

When my unaccompanied minor from Albania arrived with his social worker he arrived looking tired and having not bathed for weeks, he also had no extra clothes other than the dirty clothes he travelled in, I felt very sad seeing him like this and wanted to buy him clothes straight away. The social worker explained to me the terrible journey and experience he had endured during his journey on a lorry here including not eating well or sleeping well and having very little understanding of the English language. I managed to use the online google translator to communicate with him unaccompanied minor from Albaniaand explain what was going to be discussed with the social worker such as basic house rules. When he first arrived, he had no friends and family support system which in turn meant he had no-one to turn to which had an impact on his mental and emotional welfare. He arrived not knowing what to expect, what sort of family he would be living with and what is expected of him, which was very overwhelming for him at first. I enrolled him in suitable college so he can make friends and study with children his age.

The looked after child had all his health checks and appointments made by me to make sure the child has no medical concerns and all that all his immunisations are up to date. I also supported the looked after child with all his home office and solicitor appointments to make sure he applies for the appropriate immigration status and help him to understand his legal rights.

My Albanian foster child stayed with me for one and a half years. He settled in comfortably and socialised well with my family and relatives, he picked up the English language and learnt about different cultures, we learnt a lot from his culture too. I enjoyed having him in my house and half way through fostering I left my part- time job and have continued fostering. I look forward to what the future holds, and helping the young children that are in need.

 


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