Unaccompanied minors often require specialist foster care through fostering given the emotional distress they may suffer on their journey to the United Kingdom. It is also likely they will have experienced challenges or trauma in their country of origin. Currently, there is a trend of children arriving from Eastern Europe and the Middle East, particularly Afghanistan, Syria, Eritrea, Sierra Leone, Iran, and Nigeria. Such children often do not speak good English and in addition, have religious beliefs which need supporting by the foster carer.
These factors bring different challenges to our existing foster carers or for new carers having their first placement. As with any foster placement, we seek to understand each child’s full needs when we receive a referral from a local authority. We then focus on close matching considering the child’s country of origin, language and religion.
We aim to place Unaccompanied Minors within mainstream fostering but understand the need for additional training and support for our carers to ensure the placement is effective and good outcomes are achieved.
We work closely with local authorities to provide continued support to each child or young person and ensure they receive the appropriate educational support. To ensure placements start well, our social work team will invest additional time up front to help identify any specific needs for the child. We have a children’s handbook in a range of languages to assist.
At the assessment stage for new carers, it is important that the requirement for Unaccompanied Minors is explored to consider this in your approval terms.