In light of the unprecedented rise in Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) arriving on small boat crossings to the South East of England, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, as part of its commitment to accommodating UASC, is seeking expressions of interest from additional foster carers to offer support and accommodation.
A spokesperson said: “Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children are, first and foremost, children. They require support and protection in order for them to feel and be safe and have their wellbeing needs met. They have experienced loss and change, having been separated from their families and friends and from their country of origin.”
The Scottish Government is providing additional revenue funding of £0.5 million to local authorities in Scotland. Funds are to be distributed based on the number of children each local authority will receive under the Voluntary National Transfer Scheme (NTS). This funding is intended to help local authorities accommodate and support vulnerable children arriving in Scotland under the revised NTS. It must be used to benefit UASCs arriving in Scotland. Funds can be utilised by local authorities to cover costs including, but not limited to:
- Staffing - the hiring of new staff or the paying of overtime to existing staff;
- Translation services - covering any translation costs incurred;
- Estate upgrades - undertaking estate maintenance; and
- Practical support - appropriate clothing, travel fees, wellbeing excursions, education materials.
The Western Isles has a proud history and proven track record of supporting resettlement programmes, and the Comhairle is confident that through the involvement of partner agencies and the wider community, unaccompanied asylum seeking children will be made to feel very welcome and supported.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is looking for additional foster carers to meet the needs of UASC. This is especially important as we know that all children achieve the most effective outcomes in family-based care.
Children will be supported by Children’s Services staff and staff from partner agencies. We offer specialist training to all carers regarding the needs of unaccompanied asylum seeking children. Carers also have their own supervising social worker to support everyone in the fostering household. You can contact the local fostering team on 01851 822748 or 01870 604880.