SOLIHULL Council is looking for foster homes for young asylum seekers from war-ravaged countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
Scores of children who travel to this country alone each year arrive in Solihull because of the presence in the town of an immigration office run by the UK Border Agency.
They have no relatives or designated carers here and the local authority has the job of finding homes for them and for their education. Most of them are teenagers but some are as young as eight.
The council says it wants to hear from people who can offer a foster home to a child in need.
“We are looking for carers who can support these young people in education and to build a life in the UK. People of all ages, backgrounds and communities, individuals and couples are welcome to apply,” says one advertisement.
Faced with responsibility for the children’s welfare, the council waged a long campaign to ensure the Government paid for all the costs attached to it.
Council leader Ken Meeson, who is also cabinet member for education, children and young people, said: “Many of the unaccompanied asylum seeking children come from areas of war and unrest such as Afghanistan and Iraq or from African countries like Rwanda.
“They have often suffered trauma and some have disabilities. It is our job to make sure they have a safe living environment and are educated. Some are allowed to stay, others aren’t and move on.
“Prospective foster parents are vetted carefully and those who are accepted undergo special training. They are given specialist support and financial assistance. The role they play is very important.”
l For more information about fostering young asylum seekers telephone 0800 073 0769, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.solihull.gov.uk/fostering.