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Sanctuary seeking fostering

Sanctuary seeking fostering involves caring for a young asylum seeker, who has been separated from his or her family and is in the UK alone or with just their siblings.

Some young people have travelled long distances, escaping war, persecution or famine in their home country.

They may not speak English and can be frightened or confused. It helps if the foster family shares the same language, culture and religion as a sanctuary seeking child, but experience of working with people from other cultures can be just as important.

Fostering sanctuary seeking children

Young people who arrive in the UK without parents or family are one of the most vulnerable groups in society. They enter the UK and are presented with border agency staff or police who, in most cases, will inform the relevant local authority who will undertake an age assessment if they have no proof of age.

A culture of disbelief can exists for these young people and individuals, and agencies can assume that the young person is older than their said age and believe they are in fact adults who are trying to access higher quality services offered to child asylum seekers, as opposed to adults.

These kinds of judgements are often based on the physical appearance of young people who may appear older due to traumatic experiences, the long and dangerous journey they have been on and the fact that some ethnicities have varying developmental milestones. If a young person is deemed a child then they are supported by local social work teams and become part of the looked after system and placed in a foster home with foster parents, at children’s homes or sometimes supported in semi-independent accommodation.

Young asylum seekers need to be supported to access legal representation, in order for them to make a claim for asylum, and this process can take many months or even years. The emotional wellbeing due to trauma is often an issue for sanctuary seeking children, who have either experienced significant loss, been subject to harm or witnessed harm to family and friends. Children and young people can also face the same discrimination, stereotypes and hostility afforded to adult and family asylum seekers and as a foster parent, you'll need to adovocate and support a young person through this.

Unaccompanied asylum seeking young people can recover from these past traumas if they receive the right support and services, which we at Fostering People are committed to ensuring they receive.

Alongside the task of caring for a sanctuary seeking child or young person on a day-to-day basis, foster parents will also need to support them through the process of applying for permission to stay in the UK, and possibly to prepare for returning to their own country if their application is unsuccessful.

Many unaccompanied children seeking asylum will also have particular emotional, practical, language and cultural needs that their foster parents will have to consider when fostering an asylum seeker. That’s where our foster care support comes in, we ensure our foster parents are fully trained, equipped and supported to deal with the particular challenges of meeting the needs of unaccompanied children.

"When Amir first came to us, we were really surprised by how polite and chivalrous he was; a very different teenage experience, and certainly a long way removed from the behaviours we anticipated as foster carers"

Read Liz and Tom's story

Frequently asked questions

Does a foster parent get paid for fostering?

Yes, go to our financial calculator to gain an idea about how much you could receive.

Who can apply to become a foster parent?

Fostering is available to anyone over the age of 21 as along as you meet the criteria.

Will I receive any specialist training?

Yes, we believe fostering is a journey – and the more you know, the more you’ll get out of it. That’s why we provide ongoing training opportunities for both our foster carers and our staff. Before you’re approved as a carer, you’ll attend a preparation course designed to get you and your family ready to foster. And once approved, you’ll take part in our comprehensive training programme.

Take your first step to becoming a foster parent today

If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent and would like to learn more, then we’d love to hear from you.

Simply fill in the form below and one of our friendly team will be in touch.



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Call us on 0800 077 8159

Fostering People Limited, Suite D, The Point, Welbeck Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham, NG2 7QW