Never a more important time to foster a child
Foster a child – Naqeeb, who fled from Afghanistan as a teenager, was fostered in West Sussex and is now a care leaver.
West Sussex County Council continues to support additional refugee children amid an ongoing crisis but is in urgent need of more people to foster them.
In the last month West Sussex has taken six additional asylum-seeking children and young people into care from Kent, as the neighbouring local authority is currently at capacity.
More than 4,300 refugees, including many children, are estimated to have crossed the Channel so far this year, compared with less than 1,000 at this point last year. As Kent County Council struggles to manage new arrivals, it is looking to other authorities to help find homes for the children and young people who have arrived without a family.
Through the national transfer scheme, West Sussex is among the local authorities in England that support additional numbers of unaccompanied refugee children. But like Kent, this is an ongoing challenge here with numbers continuing to rise.
West Sussex County Council is currently caring for around 200 asylum-seeking children and young people, including 123 aged 18-25.
Jacquie Russell, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “It is upsetting to watch the footage of desperate people risking their lives to come here. Many of them are children who arrive scared and often alone.
“Here in West Sussex we have the most compassionate, committed foster carers and supported lodgings providers, who are able to give some a safe place to live, but the reality is that it is an ongoing challenge to fund capacity to meet the need.
“Fostering is a big decision and you don’t have to have made it to speak to our team, who can help answer any questions you may have.”
Specialist training, support and allowances are provided to all our foster carers, and there remains an ongoing need for different types of fostering across West Sussex, including short and long term, parent and child and care for siblings.
For more information please call 033 022 27775 or visit our fostering website where you can submit an online enquiry.
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