There is no escaping the reality that war can destroy homes, dislocate thousands of families, lose loved ones, and seek asylum in other countries. Several children from across the world get separated from their families, fleeing famine, political unrest, and war. They have to endure a dangerous, and long journey all by themselves at such tender ages. This is where refugee services play a vital role as they encourage families to foster innocent migrant children and secure their future.
Asylum seekers on the rise
A young individual, or a child unfamiliar with a new culture, language, and dealing with trauma and fear is in itself so terrifying. Several developed countries across the globe receive thousands of asylum applications, especially from unaccompanied children. With war raging in Ukraine (updates here), and the continued rise in children and young people coming from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc., the number is expected to increase in the years to come (info).
Offering a secured and safe family
Irrespective of age, language, nationality, and religion, such kids need a secured, and safe family that can provide a loving, caring, and supportive home. Kids seeking asylum desperately look for families that can regard them as their own. Fostering a child who is a refugee, fleeing from his/her country is one of the important refugee services that are rendered and encouraged by local authorities. Several families volunteer to foster a refugee kid by providing a home, and most importantly a loving and caring family.
When a child flees from danger in his/her country (for instance, a war situation, or an oppressive regime) the child becomes an asylum seeker. Several young individuals and children make this journey without their parents and any elders. When a child arrives in another country, and there is nobody to take care of and responsibility, the local authorities look after the migrant child.
In several cases, the child is also taken care of by a foster family that undertakes the responsibility. In case it is found out by refugee service providers that the child is under the threat of persecution, he/she gets refugee status. This is followed by official procedures for seeking asylum in a safe country as deemed fit and necessary.
Needs of refugee or migrant children
Similar to any child seeking foster care, migrant children also have some basic needs like:
· A loving home
· Proper health care
Apart from the above-mentioned needs, a migrant child might need some additional needs. It is because they have undergone traumatic experiences in their home country. For instance, witnessing the death of near and loved ones or undertaking dangerous paths to move to other nations. According to the surveys observed by different refugee services, the majority of the kids and young children suffer from post-traumatic stress.
Adjusting to new life
The migrant kids ready to move into foster homes might not be aware of the English language and thereby requires support to learn a new language. Furthermore, the kids also need help while adjusting to the new and unfamiliar environment at the foster home, and outside. A child is also required to make frequent visits to immigration lawyers who help with the asylum procedures of refugees and migrants. Kids seeking foster homes in other nations might not be allowed to have direct contact with their parents and other family members. They may be allowed to speak over the phone or even have video-calling options.
A child who has to flee from his home nation is under constant mental pressure and needs time to have the trust and confidence to tell their stories and everything they have gone through. Furthermore, refugee services have noticed that refugee kids feel isolated being away from their home country and family members. Thus, the need to introduce such kids to foster family care is beneficial for settling young minds and giving them a feeling at home.
Steps to fostering
There are steps that one needs to follow when considering fostering migrant kids. They are as follows:
Several refugee services help interested candidates to become foster parents to migrant or refugee kids. One has to register and complete an inquiry form and the service provider walks one through the procedures of fostering. In the first step, the fostering advisor enquires and evaluates the interested candidate’s current condition, and fostering plans.
Once the candidate registers his/her interest, the fostering advisor visits the home. When the advisor visits home, more information about fostering is given, and support potential foster parents with all kinds of information. The motive behind the fostering advisor visiting is to give a good examination of the home. At the end of the home visit, things become clearer on both ends whether fostering is the right thing or not. If potential fostering parents are considered suitable and are ready to proceed, an application form needs to be submitted.
Once applied formally, and accepted as well, a social worker gets in touch and starts with fostering evaluation. The social worker might pay a visit to the home multiple times, often counting ten to fifteen times, to acquire information about potential fostering parents, their immediate family members, experience with fostering, and so on. This is an important step to evaluate whether the potential candidates are good enough to foster migrant kids.
Preparing for training
The candidates volunteering to foster have to attend fostering preparatory training. This is because the training offers a deep understanding of the fostering role and the dos and don’ts. Furthermore, the training also helps to react to certain situations that might arise when one becomes fostering parent to refugee kids.
Fostering vulnerable kids and young children, especially fleeing their home country is a wonderful act of humanity. Every year thousands of kids and young children seek asylum in other countries because they have to flee from their nations due to situations like war, natural calamity, or political unrest. Kids and young individuals are vulnerable, thereby refugee services evaluate strictly before considering handing them over to foster homes.