Foster families can cope with new refugees

Child 12

​Fostering charity says foster families will respond to government pledge to take in 3,000 refugee children.

5th May 2016 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

The UK’s leading fostering charity believes foster families can cope with an influx of unaccompanied refugee children after the UK government bowed to pressure to take in an extra 3,000.

Fostering Network said that though it had concerns about adequate resourcing for local authorities, it was confident potential foster families would rally to a call to take in the influx of mostly Syrian children.

It comes as Prime Minister David Cameron relented to pressure and pledged to take 3,000 unaccompanied children currently stranded in Europe.

There were fears that both charities and the government had taken action before adequate resources had been put in place but the Fostering Network says it expects families across the UK will respond to the cause.

A spokesperson said: “Foster carers already provide homes and families for the refugee children who have arrived in the UK alone, and are best placed to do so.

"They are hugely experienced in dealing with children, with a huge range of needs, who could arrive at their front door at any time of day or night. 

“We have no doubts of the skills and commitment of foster carers and their ability to be a bright light in a loving home, in the darkest of hours.”

Despite “unprecedented challenges” fostering services are already coping well with taking on refugee children, the network said.  

The charity said that as more detail emerges from government the numbers and timescales will become clearer, the sector can start to work towards ensuring the right homes are available for the children who come.

“Language barriers and cultural issues are readily overcome but that’s why resources are important,” said the spokesperson. “We need to be able to give foster families the tolls and support they need to ensure these children have the best chance in life.”

Save the Children yesterday welcomed David Cameron’s announcement.

Its chief executive Tanya Steele said: “The prime minister has offered a lifeline to these vulnerable children and we will work with the government and the UN to ensure that these commitments are rapidly implemented so that thousands of lone, vulnerable children can reach safety in the UK in the coming months.”

Refugee children: don't expect stereotypes

The reality of children stranded in Europe isn’t what we might expect. Many of the refugees classified as children will be in their late teens and will have been accompanied to their present destination by a family member: a grandparent perhaps, an uncle or an aunt. Neither may they appear destitute: many are well clothed, well-educated and articulate; Syria before the civil war in 2011 was a relatively prosperous middle-class nation. They will range in age from five to 18, and will have been sent by their direct families in Syria in hope of a better life in the west. While the youngest children will tug at heart strings more, the reality is all these young people face a hopeless future unless they can source a secure family environment in which to make the transition into adulthood and all are equally worthy of support.