Families of Refuge
In 2016 the UK Government committed to welcoming 480 children stranded in Europe after fleeing persecution and hardship – a commitment known as the Dubs Scheme. Nearly four years on, that commitment has still not yet been met. A significant reason for this is a lack of available homes for these children in the UK, due to the strains on our current social care system.
Last year Home for Good learned that children in resettlement centres in Greece, Italy and France are being approved for resettlement into the UK by the Home Office, but their arrivals are being delayed due to a lack of available homes. In response we launched the Families of Refuge project. An innovative project, privately funded by a philanthropist to find 20 individuals and families in 2020 that will host one of these unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, waiting for a home to become available in the UK. We understand this project is a world-first in recruiting specifically for a cohort of refugee children like this and working with the Home Office and Local Authorities.
Home for Good is a well-established fostering and adoption charity, so with our recruiting network we inspire and motivate people, particularly in our church networks, to step forward as hosts for these children. Local Authorities do not have the capacity to assess these additional carers, so we are contracting independent social workers to provide this additional capacity to train and assess under the supervision of the Local Authority. This project is utilising an under-used form of social care placement called Supported Lodgings, arrangement that both provides a family-based context for these children – usually boys aged 16-17 years old – whilst also gives them the independence that this cohort of children often want. Home for Good then links up the Home Office, Strategic Migration Partnerships and Local Authorities to ensure this increased capacity brings new ‘Dubs children’ into the UK.
This project launched first in Bristol and we have our first two families being assessed in that city. Two weeks ago we launched in Salisbury and we have nine families interested and we expect a number of those will step up and go for it. We are now launching in South East London with an event being held at Hillsong church’s Warehouse in Bermondsey on 25/2 from 7.30-9pm. The event is open to all those interested in welcoming unaccompanied children into their community and in particular is an opportunity for those who may be able to host a young person in their home to find out more information.
Written by: Miriam Emenike
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