Supporting Suffolk's Unaccompanied
Asylum Seeking Children
The global refugee crisis is at record levels and the UK is seeing more and more people arriving and seeking refuge in our communities. Amongst them are unaccompanied asylum seeking children.
An Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Child (UASC) is defined by the Home Office as a young person under the age of 18, who has applied for asylum and "has no adult relative or guardian to turn to in this country".
These children and young people may have arrived in the UK completely alone or with an adult who later abandoned them or who does not present as a suitable carer or guardian.
Upon arriving, these unaccompanied asylum seeking children go into the social care system. Suffolk County Council has agreed to take 106 USAC in 2017 and we are fast approaching that target with 86 children and young people currently in the Suffolk social care system.
This month the Ipswich Mosque held and supported events to raise awareness about what our community can do to help UASCs.
The first event was our Fostering Open Evening on 13th December, which was attended by over 50 members of our local community. We had presentations from East of England Local Government Association, who lead on supporting UASC, Suffolk County Council, Essex County Council and The Benjamin Foundation, who run supported lodging programmes in Norfolk and Suffolk.
It was an immensely informative evening, with lively discussion and open questions about how families in our community can become foster carers, especially as there are no Muslim foster carers in Suffolk.
One attendee said "I am so glad we attended - helped us answer a lot of our questions. We are definitely interested. Just need to arrange a time to book an appointment and see where we go."
Later in the same week, on 15th December the social care team at Suffolk County Council held an end of year celebration for UASCs in their care at the YMCA. Over 80 young people enjoyed an evening of celebration and yummy food, donated by the Ipswich Mosque. A huge thank you to Eastern Spice Indian Takeaway on Woodbridge Road, Ipswich, for catering the event, with delicious samosas, bhajis and biriyani.
The Social Worker who organised the party said "The kids had an awesome time from Kurdish dancing, to Sudanese to Egyptian to Afghan and back to Kurdish again!! Food went down a treat and they all took home presents so a massive success!!"
We hope to continue supporting this work and working closely with agencies and councils. Please get in touch to help support or foster Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking children.