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Appeal for foster carers for unaccompanied refugee children

Staffordshire families interested in supporting or fostering young asylum seekers arriving in the county are being encouraged to come forward.

The call-out follows the ongoing refugee crisis that is affecting children and young people, specifically those dispersed from Calais following the closure of the so-called Jungle camp.

Staffordshire County Council is currently caring for unaccompanied minors and has pledged to accept and support refugee children arriving in the county.

Now, the county’s Fostering Service wants potential families interested in fostering a young person or providing supported lodgings to get in touch.

Mark Sutton, Cabinet Member for Children & Young People at Staffordshire County Council said:

Most people will have been touched by the plight of the hundreds of unaccompanied refugee children, most of who will have been through incredible trauma.

“Since the start of the crisis, we’ve been working closely with the Home Office to help identify and support any children who have links with Staffordshire. We also have experience of finding families for children who have  previously arrived in the county and claimed asylum …

“As part of this important commitment we now have an urgent need to recruit more foster carers and supported lodgings hosts who can offer safe and loving homes for these young people where they can have the time, space and support to begin to rebuild their lives.  I would encourage anyone who can help to get in touch.”

Dee Karim is one Staffordshire foster carer who has experience in taking in unaccompanied refugee children. Dee said:

I’m currently looking after three unaccompanied teenagers from Afghanistan who arrived in the county earlier in the year.

“It’s hard to imagine what many of the children have been through but seeing them settling in and being thankful for something as simple as feeling safe is incredibly moving and rewarding. Many have been forced to move away from their homes because of war or persecution, and have no family left.

“The boys have settled in well. All three are now in school and college learning English and are very grateful for the support they’ve received.”

Children arriving who are aged between 12 and 16 years old would be placed in a Long term Fostering placement.  Long term fostering involves caring for children from the age they are placed until they reach adulthood at 18.

Some young people aged 16 to 18 years old may also be placed with a Supported Lodgings host. This is an alternative to foster care and offers young people a stable environment, support to develop practical skills and emotional stability needed to make the transition to independent living.  As like fostering, people would be expected to support the young person to access education or training and also to support them with any immigration or legal appointments.

Anyone interested in finding out more can attend a special information event on 30 November at Rising Brook Church, Manor Square in Stafford from 7.30pm to 9pm.

People can also find out more at www.care4child.org/risingbrook  or call 0800 169 2061.

Ends

Notes to Editor:

Staffordshire’s Foster Service was rated “Outstanding” by Ofsted because of the support and training given to carers and their families.

Each Foster carer has their own dedicated social worker and experienced foster carer ‘mentor’ to support them through the assessment process and beyond.

All Foster Carers receive a weekly allowance and professional fee depending on the age of the child and experience level of the carer.