Fostering Unaccompanied Minors

Jahanara and Nural have been foster carers with Capstone for the last 6 years and during that time all their placements have been unaccompanied minors.

Jahanara said:

‘6 years ago, we decided to return to fostering after some encouragement from our children and we have been with Capstone Foster Care ever since. A lot has changed in that time and since joining Capstone we have learnt a lot and the training has been very good. We also have a lovely community of carers here and we are all good friends which means we have great support.

When we joined Capstone, it wasn’t a specific preference, but all our placements have been unaccompanied minors and we currently have 2 in placement with us at the moment. When we got sent our first referral, we said yes, and it just happened from there. It has had its ups and downs and its own challenges, but I would say that it has had a lot less issues that your standard placement may experience.

The main worry with unaccompanied minor placements is that the young person may be missing home, their family and that they might feel alone because they are not used to this country. They are suddenly placed in a new home with new people and who might not understand them.

As a foster carer the biggest responsibility is finding a way of connecting with them. You may follow the same religion, talk the same language, like the same food or have the same hobbies and just need to find the one of these that helps the young person. This is something I was comfortable with as I moved here when I was 12. Although I moved with my family I can understand how it feels being in a strange place and at new school, so it gives me the strength to take these placements as I know what they must be missing, and they can talk to me and know that I understand.

One of the challenges is teaching the young person to do things for themselves and teaching them respect. A lot of unaccompanied minors have been told that when they get here they will be able to ask for what they want, and it will be provided, so you need to help them understand the process whilst being mindful of what they may have been through to get here. They are just children and they don’t understand.

If I was to give advice to anyone who is thinking about placements, then I would say try it and you will probably enjoy it. I really do. You are given the chance to make them into something and you know when they leave that they will appreciate you and what you have done for them. Children are children at the end of the day and if you want to help an child then help any child. It is humanity.’

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