Fostering North Yorkshire (FNY) is looking for people who are welcoming, open to learning about new cultures and able to help young people who have been through tough times to settle in the UK.

As part of North Yorkshire County Council, FNY is working with other local authorities on settling unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) who have arrived in Britain. These are young people under 18 who are applying for asylum and have no relative or guardian in the country.

Seventeen young people have arrived in the county so far and more are expected to arrive in North Yorkshire over the next three years. FNY is looking for caring, kind and committed foster carers who can help them to adjust to life in the UK.

“The young people arriving in the county are likely to have very few belongings and little grasp of the English language,” said County Councillor Janet Sanderson, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Children’s Services. “Their foster carers need to be welcoming, open to learning about new cultures and able to nurture and encourage children to settle into life in the UK.

“One of the young people we have settled arrived in this country by boat and truck after his older sister had saved up to pay for his passage from a refugee camp in Libya. He didn’t see a future for himself in his own country – he was worried he would suffer government persecution for his religious beliefs.

“When he got to England, the truck driver wouldn’t let him out. He was feeling very scared and unwell and started to panic, so when the truck stopped he cut the curtain and got out. He asked another truck driver to help him and call the police. He was then taken to a police station, given refreshments, treated well and met his foster carers. He’s settled well with them, is enjoying his education and sees a bright future here for himself.”

When the UASC’s arrive in North Yorkshire they undergo an assessment to ensure they are placed in a safe and secure family environment that is the best fit for them. FNY needs foster carers who have the skills, compassion and willingness to care for these young people who have already been through a lot in their lives.

FNY also has an ongoing need for foster carers to look after local young people, including teenagers, disabled children and children whose behaviour can be challenging.

Being a foster carer is an important and satisfying role, helping to develop positive experiences and skills that have sometimes been missed out on earlier in life. Fostering also brings with it a generous tax-free allowance for each child and, while this is usually not the main motivation for foster carers, it is a consideration as additional income can be welcome.

Foster carers attached to FNY are also given the best training available, knowledgeable support from a dedicated fostering social worker and access to specialist services when needed.

People who feel they could give a young asylum seeker a safe foster home, or are interested in the other types of foster care needed in North Yorkshire can call Fostering North Yorkshire on 01609 534654 or visit FNY at www.northyorks.gov.uk/fostering for more information.