Our Fostering Story – Caring for an Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Child
Our experience of how we dealt with a young person with no background info, with a language barrier and what we have done to care for him, resources, support etc. what was difficult, what are the rewards.
Our Fostering journey began December 2017 with a young 15 year old. We had just passed panel the week before. In the 4 weeks we cared for her she absconded on several occasions, went missing on several occasions and failed to arrive home on time on several occasions. We had tremendous support from our fostering agency, Regional Foster Families, with this and eventually, she was returned to her family very amicably and we all felt we had done a great job with her.
An Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Child…
Our next arrived a few weeks later. An Unaccompanied Assylum Seeking Child, no background information, non-English speaking and had only arrived in the UK the day he came to live with us.
When we found out he was coming, an hour earlier, we downloaded Google Translate and this helped us enormously along with the occasional interpreter over the coming months. With the excellent support from the fostering agency and the Local Authority (who have Parental responsibility), we managed to get him in to a local Secondary school who welcomed him with open arms and relished the challenge.
We procured a Solicitor thanks to the fostering agency to help us to get him through the Asylum process which was very daunting for us all. He got leave to remain for 5 years very quickly.
We researched as much as we could about his religion, his country of birth, his culture, his food and any other information we needed from the internet. We purchased books in English with his countries subtitles. We stuck cards on everything in the house in both English and his language. He had a tutor for several weeks to teach him English. He eventually got a place in the local College which he is still studying at on an ESOL course, English for Speakers of Other Languages where he excels.
We managed to get him involved with football at a local Soccer school but unfortunately he outgrew this. He is not a naturally sociable person and although he liked going to the Soccer school, he did not like going to the local football club we got him into and left, which was his decision.
The Support experience
The support we have had and he has had has been second to none. We have our support network with our family and if we need to have somewhere for him to stay, he blends in with them nicely. We have taken him to Ireland to a family occasion where he was smothered with affection which he was not keen on but endured for the time we were there. We took him and our granddaughter to London and he surprised us all by taking loads of photographs and showing a great deal of excitement which we had not witnessed before.
It’s not always easy, but…
We do have difficulties but face each one as it arises and we discuss these with CSW and SSW when we see them or contact them if we have to. His world has been tipped upside down but we now, after over 2 years, have quite a confident, very polite young man coming up to 18 and staying with us, who is looking forward to work although he is not sure what he wants to do. He has another year at College yet. He has made friends at College and goes out to meet them in our local town. He always stays in touch whilst he is out. He is still very reserved at home but totally different at College. We are all on a learning curve and it does take time and patience. Positive outcomes are very rewarding and when he receives excellent accolades from his tutors at College, and he comes home grinning from being out with his friends, it makes it all worthwhile.