Derbyshire foster families needed for refugee children

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Derbyshire residents who can provide a loving home for unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children are being urged to contact the county council.

The authority last week approved plans to support the government’s new national transfer scheme, which is designed to ensure an equal distribution of unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children (UASC) across the country from areas including Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea.

The county council will receive funding for each UASC transferred to Derbyshire directly from the government and is now appealing for foster carers and people who can offer supported lodgings to support the scheme.

Potential carers can find more information and apply online, talk to the council’s fostering team or drop in to one of its ‘Talk Fostering’ events.

Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Children’s Services Councillor Jim Coyle said: “We’ve responded to a government request to look after a small number of unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children and do our fair share alongside other UK councils to support its national transfer scheme.

“We’ve formed a partnership with other organisations to develop a scheme to accommodate these children who have been separated from their families and faced the kind of trauma and distress we can only imagine and are now appealing for foster carers to help us look after them.”

The government’s national transfer scheme is based on each local authority taking up to 0.07 per cent of its total child population. If the transfer scheme progresses as the Home Office anticipates and Derbyshire is required to reach its full threshold it could mean up to 97 more asylum seeking children being accommodated in the county.

Options for looking after UASC in Derbyshire include county council foster carers, supported lodgings and independent accommodation with support from agencies such as Barnardo’s.

As part of the government scheme the county council is also recruiting a small specialist social work team and educational staff to ensure UASC have a smooth transfer into the county and settle as quickly as possible.

The Department for Education and Home Office is working with the Local Government Association and Directors of Children’s Services at councils across the UK to introduce the transfer scheme.

The Derbyshire UASC partnership includes the county council, health providers, police and community and voluntary groups.

Anyone interested in fostering an unaccompanied asylum seeking or refugee child can call Kathryn Thompson or Kate Woodhouse from the county council’s fostering team on 01629 532263 or 01629 535727 (between 9am and 5pm) or on 0800 083 7744 (8am to 8pm), email fostering@derbyshire.gov.uk or find more information, including a list of ‘Talk Fostering’ events, and apply at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/fostering.
For details about the service manager and social worker posts being advertised to support the Government’s UASC national transfer scheme in Derbyshire visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk/jobs and search job references DCC/16/1860 and DCC/16/1857.

For the education posts visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk/jobs and search job references DCC/16/1855, DCC/16/1940 and DCC/16/1947.

For more information about the UASC resettlement scheme in Derbyshire visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk/refugeechildren.