Can you host a lonely and scared Afghan child?

Dorset Council is looking for people willing to foster or provide supported lodgings for unaccompanied children.

In the year ending September 2021, the UK received 3,103 applications for asylum from unaccompanied, or separated, children and many more are arriving each day.

In the year ending September 2021, the UK received 3,103 applications for asylum on behalf of unaccompanied children and many more are arriving each day. Along with other local authorities, Dorset has a responsibility to provide a warm welcome and meet their needs.

‘The majority of the young people arriving as asylum seekers are 16 or 17 years old,’ says Cllr Andrew Parry, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Children, Education and Early Help.
‘They may have travelled for many months before arriving
in the UK and would have experienced difficult and traumatic living circumstances, including time in refugee
camps, separation from their families, being victims of human trafficking, physical and sexual abuse and their basic needs generally not being met.
‘Many of them also face uncertainty about their future life in the UK while their immigration status and right to remain are determined. As with any child, these young people need safe and supportive environments that living in supported lodgings can bring to help them prepare to lead independent lives.

Fabulous youngsters

‘We also know from the unaccompanied children that we have supported over the years that they are frequently fabulous young people and add so much to the homes and schools they join and are a real asset to our communities.’
Hosts can be from all backgrounds and either married, single or in a partnership, from all ethnic groups and cultures) who:

• have a spare room available (and permission from your landlord or housing provider if living in rented accommodation)

• can provide support to a child or young person

• have relevant experience or skills in caring for young people (although this is not essential).

Supported lodgings

Supported Lodgings are usually for young people aged 16-
25, who need a small level of support to help them experience the transition to adulthood in a supportive home environment. You don’t need to provide full- time care and you will be paid a fee to assist with day-to-day living costs. Full training will be given and support, advice and guidance will be available throughout.

To find out about providing supported lodgings, email supported-lodgings@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk or call 01305 225809 and ask for Val Clark. You can also find more information on our website.

Foster parents

Fostering is usually for younger children (under 18), who need more support and care to make sure they are well looked after. Short-term foster carers look after children for a few weeks or months while more permanent arrangements are made for them.

Some older children need a permanent home where long- term foster care is the best option. You will be paid a fee to assist with day-to-day living costs. Full training will be given and support, advice and guidance will be available throughout.

To find out more about fostering in Dorset, email fosteringenquiries@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk or call 01305 225568. You can also find more information on our website.

By: Andy Palmer

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