While many families fleeing political, ethnic or religious conflict in war-torn nations arrive in the UK together, a great many unaccompanied children and young people arrive here completely on their own.
These young people may have both witnessed and experienced traumatic events that many of us cannot even imagine. Not least being separated from parents, loved ones and the familiarity of their home country to embark on a perilous life-threatening journey to reach European shores.
The UK government is now responding to public calls to provide homes for refugees who risk their lives escaping tyranny and violence, pledging to help more mums, dads and kids find safety in Britain.
Here in Kent and the South East, many groups fuelled by 'people power' are collecting and distributing humanitarian aid and vital supplies to those at the Jungle refugee camps in Calais - with overwhelming responses from the public to donate. Others are putting posters in windows making it clear that 'refugees are welcome' in their home.
There are many wonderful ways to offer your help and support to this tragic mass displacement of people; and becoming a foster carer is one of them.
Children seeking asylum
Children and young people arriving in the UK alone to seek asylum, often with nothing and no-one, need a safe, loving and stable home environment.
Beyond the trauma they have already experienced, unaccompanied children arriving in the UK are unlikely to speak English, or have any concept of fostering and family customs in the UK.
The role of the foster carer is to provide that safe, secure place so that the right support and services can be identified; as well as developing communication skills to support children in everyday living - and as they try to come to terms with their emotional and psychological distresses.
Making a better life
Kasper Fostering is currently assessing a foster family who, because of their own early life experiences, identify closely with caring for young asylum seeking children. Both parents experienced having to leave their country of origin under difficult circumstances, to start again in a foreign country.
Their motivation to foster unaccompanied children is clear, "We see, and have seen firsthand, so much destruction in the world, and lack of care for other human beings. We just want to help a young person who has experienced such hardship make a better life and achieve as best they can."
As well as sound motivations, and at least one spare bedroom, ideal qualities in people interested in fostering refugee children may include:
Foster carers are resilient and dedicated, ordinary people who make an amazing difference to transform the lives of vulnerable children. They provide safe, caring and loving homes that give children security, stability and the chance to develop and thrive.
Our foster carers receive from £412 per week per child, enabling carers to fully meet the needs and expenses of the young person placed. We provide round-the-clock support from highly experienced social workers, and specialist training to work therapeutically with young people.
A team of support is also put in place around the child and foster family, including an English tutor, access to interpreters and local services.
Kasper Fostering is an outstanding agency (Ofsted, 2015), not-for-profit and child-centred. We provide loving families for vulnerable children in need, and invest all our resources in their futures.
Talk to us about becoming a foster carer: You could change a young person's future, and give children the chance to be children.
Call our friendly team on 01227 275985 to find out more today.
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