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Foster an asylum-seeking child: what you need to know about UASC care

Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC) are children or young people seeking asylum in the UK as refugees. They are often fleeing persecution or war in their home countries and, sadly, have been separated from their parents, family or carers along the journey – and are therefore alone when seeking refuge.

We at The Fostering Foundation work with specialist, experienced foster carers who can provide a safe nurturing ‘home from home’ experience for these children, who have already experienced much trauma in their lives and deserve to feel safe and secure as they adjust to a new way of life in a new country, with new opportunities.

That’s why we are so dedicated to ensuring they are placed in safe and stable homes, with well-prepared and fully-supported foster carers who will support them on their journey as they move towards adulthood and independence and experience the chance to get their lives started again.

How do Asylum-Seeking Children end up in the UK?
We know that the UK is currently experiencing a shortfall of around 25,000 foster homes estimated over the next five years. Sadly, this number is only expected to rise as more children and families around the world are forced to leave their homes due to threat of war, persecution, famine or abuse.

We have seen this most recently in the war in Ukraine, which has caused 7.3 million Ukrainians to flee to neighbouring countries – mainly women and children – since Russia began its invasion on 24 February 2022.

The Ukrainian refugee crisis is very visible to us here in the UK, but there are also many other places in the world where displaced people are being forced to leave their homes and find safety in neighbouring countries. Syria has been experiencing civil war since 2011 and refugees from the war-torn country represented 25% of the global refugee population (according to the UNHCR: UN Refugee Agency) as recently as 2021. Escalating violence in Venezuela, South Sudan, DCR and Myanmar has also seen thousands of people flee their homes in search of safety.

14,734 people from around the world were granted refugee status in the UK last year. Sadly, according to the Red Cross, 8% of these were unaccompanied minors – children who were not accompanied by their parents, or any adult family member. These children are known as Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC).

How to help: UASC Fostering
When an unaccompanied child enters the UK as a refugee, they automatically qualify as a child ‘looked after’ by their local authority and placed with foster families while long-term care plans are arranged.

Asylum-seeking children may have travelled to the UK to flee war, political turmoil, or exposure to abuse, and so it is absolutely crucial that they are given a safe, stable base in the UK where they can begin to process what they have been through.

We at The Fostering Foundation specialise in such circumstances and have an established bank of fostering households already providing UASC Fostering (also known as Sanctuary-Seeking Fostering) – but we are also ready to welcome existing or new foster carers who would be interested in learning more about how to support vulnerable children in need.

UASC Fostering is often a short-term form of foster care, which is ideal for people from all different backgrounds. It’s important to note that, in many situations, the child in question might have no links to the UK. They might be feeling isolated and home-sick, as well as having to cope with a new language, culture, weather, cuisine and environment.

That’s why we have developed specific training, in addition to our Skills to Foster programme, that is specifically designed for carers of asylum-seeking children and based in Therapeutic Parenting.

We are passionate about supporting foster children through their trauma, encourage language and cultural preservation, and support their integration to life in the UK. If you would like to find out more about this or any other form of foster care, please get in touch.

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