SCOTTISH Borders Council is looking to recruit foster carers to meet the needs of unaccompanied asylum seeking children and young people.
The young people are predominantly aged 16 years and over and mostly come from countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Vietnam.
They may have experienced a range of challenges such as being trafficked, living in a war zone or being separated from their families. They may also have been living in make-shift refugee camps or have travelled many months to get here.
As a result, they are likely to have experienced significant trauma and will require considerable support navigating the challenges of both their immigration status and resettlement into their new homes and communities.
The council are now seeking expressions of interest from people with the potential to provide the support, guidance and care needed to help these vulnerable young people become settled in the UK.
Councillor Carol Hamilton, Executive Member for Developing Our Children and Young People, said: “This is an extremely important and vital addition to our foster care service and it is absolutely right that we support the national humanitarian effort by doing all we can to provide any young person who is to be resettled here in the Borders with the fresh start they need.
“This is a role that will require an additional degree of sensitivity and compassion but we are keen to hear from anyone who believes they have the skills and dedication needed to give an asylum seeking or trafficked young person a safe, nurturing environment and support them through any uncertainties with their future life in Scotland.
“I have no doubt that it will also prove to be a hugely rewarding experience for those carers and their families who are approved for the service and we look forward to hearing from anyone for whom this is of interest.”
As is the case with the Council’s existing foster care service, carers can come from all walks of life and may be single or in an enduring partnership. They will need to provide a home and support for young people aged 16-21 years and be in reasonable health and in settled circumstances.
Full training will be provided and they will have access to a team of specialist social workers who will be on hand to provide support. A maintenance allowance will also be paid. Thorough checks, including a full assessment as to any applicant’s suitability will be carried out, which will involve a preparatory training course.
To find out more about becoming a foster carer, visit the Council’s website: www.scotborders.gov.uk/fostering or contact the Family Placement Team on 01896 662799.