The Provision of Foster Care for Unaccompanied Migrant Children: Some considerations

Dr. Muireann Ní Raghallaigh - FORUM


This article is written as part of the FORUM project (FOR Unaccompanied Minors: transfer of knowledge for professionals to increase foster care), an EU funded project which sought to enhance the capacity of professionals to provide quality foster care for unaccompanied migrant children, primarily through the transfer of knowledge. The article aims to contribute to this transfer of knowledge by bringing together literature which is of relevance to professionals developing or enhancing foster care services for unaccompanied migrant children (such as social workers), other professionals working with unaccompanied migrant children (such as staff of reception centres, cultural mediators, guardians, legal representatives, youth workers and teachers) and foster carers themselves. It explores some of the pertinent issues that need to be addressed when training is being provided for individuals and couples who wish to foster unaccompanied migrant children, specifically, the experiences of unaccompanied migrant children prior to migration, during their journey and transit and upon arrival in a host country; the ‘matching’ of children to carers; and the need to value diversity and be culturally competent particularly within the context of crosscultural placements. The article draws on international research in relation to foster care generally as well as research in relation to foster care for unaccompanied migrant children specifically.