Fostering unaccompanied asylum seeking young people: the views of foster carers on their training and support needs

Abigail Sidery - Adoption & Fostering


The implementation of the National Transfer Scheme, whereby local authorities across the UK are encouraged to voluntarily receive unaccompanied young asylum seekers, has prompted a necessary focus on the training needs of those caring for this population. As agencies consider how to build their capacity to support unaccompanied young people, this study set out to learn from the experiences and views of foster carers, in order to inform the development of effective carer training and support. Eight semi-structured interviews were undertaken with foster carers who have cared for unaccompanied young people in one county in the South West of England. The findings draw attention not only to the potential benefits of training focused specifically on fostering unaccompanied young people, but also reveal aspects of the impact that limited access to training and support can have upon carers. The findings shed light on the carers’ experiences of encountering ‘unknown’ factors and allow new insight into the networks they had developed over time to enhance their ability to access information and support as new challenges arise. Possible implications for local authorities and fostering agencies are considered.