Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC)

Could you become a UASC foster carer?

What is UASC?

Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children or UASC

Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children or UASC are children who have fled their country of origin without the care or protection of their parents.

They are forced to leave their family and country behind to seek protection from violence, persecution, war, detention, climate change, terrorism or the disappearance of family.

Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children take long and dangerous journeys alone, or are trafficked in circumstances unknown to them; arriving at their destination feeling confused, alone and disorientated.

In 2018, 32 per cent of asylum seekers that arrived in Europe were children. Out of the 32 per cent, 8,975 children arrived in the U.K. This was approximately 4 per cent overall.

What happens to UASC?

UK might not be the intended destination for UASC

For many children, the UK might not be their intended destination when they start their journey. Most Look to settle in their neighbouring countries.

It’s the abuse that they experience along the way that compels the children to push on.

Children who arrive in the UK are taken into the care of the local authority.

If it is not possible to trace a suitable family member or guardian to care for them, UASC are placed in foster care or supported lodgings accommodation.

Carers provide UASC with a place of safety and a welcoming home while their individual case to remain in the UK is considered by the Home Office.

Fostering UASC

The unique experiences of UASC

The unique experiences of UASC and the associated trauma related to their displacement will be important considerations for carers in their day to day care.

In addition to this, carers will also need to support the children through the process of applying to the Home Office for permission to stay in the UK and the uncertainty regarding their outcomes while this process is taking place.

Carers are likely to be asked to accompany children and young people to their immigration meetings and arrange legal support. Children and young people will also need help to access education, support to practice their faith or religious persuasion, make important links within the local community and support with day-to-day living. Helping children to learn English is an important part of the role, as well as support with their emotional well-being.

There are many challenges involved in this type of fostering. However, our foster carers tell us that it is also extremely rewarding.

Foster parents

Become a foster parent

Become a foster parent

Could you become a foster parent?

West Sussex does not have enough carers to meet the needs of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. This is especially saddening when we know that all children achieve the most effective outcomes in family-based care.

Children under 16 are supported by the Child Asylum Team, which is a dedicated team of specialist social workers, as well as a specialist worker in our Voice and Participation Service. Children over 16 have dedicated personal assistants.

We offer specialist training to all carers regarding the needs of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and dedicated support from an advanced practitioner. Carers also have their own supervising social worker or support worker to support everyone in the fostering household.

We work in partnership with voluntary and community-based agencies and can offer advice and guidance and a regular monthly support group where carers can share experiences, learn from one another and have the opportunity to hear from guest speakers.

For more information and to register your interest in supporting an asylum-seeking child contact the Fostering Recruitment Team

Register your interest in becoming a foster parent (external link)

How will I be supported?

How will I be supported?

  • You will receive dedicated support and training from an Advanced Practitioner who has a lead role in relation to Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children and Young People.
  • Where possible, specialist training is also offered from partner agencies that have a wealth of knowledge specific to asylum seeking and refugee children.
  • As with all types of fostering, your supervising social worker will support you throughout the placement. They will engage with key professionals and can help you to access support services on behalf of the young person you are looking after.
  • WSCC benefits from a dedicated Child Asylum Team with experienced children’s social workers, child and family workers and sessional workers who are able to offer support.
  • An interpreting service is available to support children and young people with their understanding whilst their English is limited.
  • Children benefit from an ‘English as a Second Language’ course whilst plans are being made for their full-time education.
  • Many of our foster carers attend a monthly UASC support group whereby experiences can be shared among carers and support and learning provided. Guest speakers and key professionals within the department attend on a regular basis.
  • Our UASC Voice and Participation worker engages children and young people in key community events and activities and awards. This helps to support their integration and the formation of peer relationships.
  • Support is also offered to young people by way of a ‘Stay Safe in the UK’ programme. This provides grounding information to help these young people adjust to life in the UK and make good decisions for their future, avoiding mistakes that could cause harm.

Walk a mile in their shoes


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Naqeeb came to England when he was just 16. Hear is story...you may want to watch till the end!

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Hear why Rose and Phil became UASC foster parents.

Find out more

If you have an interest in other cultures, would like to offer a separated child a sense of belonging, have good communication skills and are keen to advocate on behalf of a displaced young person, this type of fostering could be for you.

If you would like to find out more about fostering refugee and migrant children in West Sussex our courses, such a skills to foster in Horsham, are a great place to start.

You can also complete our online enquiry form and we will contact you to discuss your enquiry further.

Alternatively, you can call our dedicated fostering recruitment team for an informal chat.



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