Help Refugees

Fostering Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) and Young People

We are looking for foster carers to specialise in caring for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and young people who have been separated from their families, either in their own country or during transit to the UK. 

The young people are often extremely distressed and frightened because of the overwhelming experience they have been through. They need help to learn the skills required to successfully build a new life in the UK, and they need support to overcome a potentially traumatic past.

We do our best to place children and young people with families where some of the culture or language is shared, however this is not always possible. Therefore, we need foster carers who are respectful of a young person’s identity.

We will work very closely with you and provide specialist training to help you.

Why do UASC seek asylum

  • War, conflict or civil unrest
  • Forced recruitment into military service
  • Escape from extreme poverty and deprivation
  • Persecution, perhaps because of political or religious beliefs, sexuality or ethnicity
  • Because they have been taken from their families and are at risk of being trafficked, beaten up or tortured

What are the differences between fostering young people from the UK and fostering UASC?

In most cases, unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and young people ae not leaving their family because of abuse or neglect, they have been forced to leave behind everyone they have ever known – parents, relatives, siblings, friends – because of conflict or persecution. Therefore, they may have had a good relationship and a loving bond with their family and feel anxious about their future.

In some cases, the young people will speak little or no English, and there they be elements of life in the UK that they have never come across before. Everything will be different for them; for example - food, weather, cultural etiquette, language, social norms

Where are the children and young people from?

Young people are entering the UK are mostly from Syria, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran.

How old are the children and young people who need support?

Most unaccompanied children who come to the UK to seek asylum are between 15 and 17 but a few are younger. Most are boys. 

If there is doubt about a young person’s age they  will undergo an age assessment. This is completed by two qualified social workers and usually takes place one or two weeks after arrival. This is NOT to determine whether or not they are allowed to remain in the UK (that is the role of the Home Office). The reason for the age assessment is to see whether they are under 18 in which case they will be viewed as a child and will be able to access support.

What kind of support do they need?

Foster Carers will need to provide a home where the young person feels safe, supported liked, valued, cared for and included. Respect for and understanding of the young person’s culture is essential as is a readiness to deal with the psychological effects of being sent away from everything they have ever known and adapting to life in a new country.

We will help foster carers to familiarise themselves with the legal procedures regarding the child’s immigration status and support them through the process of applying for permission to stay in the UK.

A Supported Lodgings placement will continue to provide additional practical and emotional support to the young people once they turn 18, and help them to develop their independent living skills. To find out more about what a Supported Lodgings placement involves, click here

Next Steps

Fostering unaccompanied asylum-seeking children is a specialist area of fostering that comes with its challenges but is also hugely rewarding.

Click here for just some of the reasons why our carers love it;

If you think you have what it takes to foster an unaccompanied asylum-seeking child or young person, we'd love to hear from you. By joining our fostering community, you can make a huge difference. Call 01273 295444 to speak with a member of our friendly team Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, complete an online enquiry or e-mail us at 

Alternatively, please join us at one of our virtual information sessions. These informal sessions are a chance to meet experienced foster carers, understand the role of fostering and learn about the support you will receive. Pleas e-mail for details of our next session.

Find out more about fostering by downloading our information booklet

Please do like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and Instagram – you will be able to keep up to date with our news, training events, school holiday activities and wonderful community spirit.

Links to more information

Doctors of the World UK (DOTW) offer leaflets with health and wellbeing information for young refugees and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) and young people (YP) living in the UK.

City of Sanctuary is a national network of local groups made up by businesses, community organisations and individuals who believe that sanctuary seekers should be welcomed. The Brighton & Hove City of Sanctuary page can be accessed here.

In Brighton & Hove, City of Sanctuary also coordinate the city's annual Refugee Week celebrations.

The Refugee Council works directly with thousands of refugees each year.

Click here for independent advice and information from Fosterline about looking after unaccompanied asylum seeking children in the UK

Click here for independent advice and information from The Fostering Network about looking after unaccompanied asylum seeking children in the UK

Sign up to receive our newsletter

Our newsletter is a great way to find out what it is like to care for young people. There are many ways to get involved and to help. We recruit and support Foster Carers, Supported Lodgings Carers, and UASC Carers. Our carers support UASC, teenagers, siblings, school-age children, babies, and young adults in need.

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