“My foster son is a terrorist” is probably one of the worst things you could say as a foster carer. This is exactly the situation that the Jones’s found themselves in, in 2017. The Parson Green bomber was brought up in care in the leafy suburbs of Surrey, a refugee child, displaced by the War.
He inscribed the words ‘Bored’ over and over again on the back of his bedroom door, was this one of the signs? It makes you think, doesn’t it? What would you do? How do you spot the signs? What drives someone, who may have survived war and trauma, to carry out such a heinous act?
But it’s not always the case and the large majority of families have the experience similar to this anonymous foster carer, who fostered an unaccompanied refugee minor;
“We have felt privileged to help a lovely young man restart his life. Our foster son is keen to take his place in British society, to help his community and ours, to contribute and to make the most of his new situation. He dreams of becoming a politician so he can make a positive change in the world.
I know the young people I work with may have severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, some having seen their family members killed in front of them, some making treacherous journeys to get to the UK. I have heard refugee children in care say they still feel ‘scared’, ‘alone’, ‘detached’, ‘confused’ and ‘uncomfortable’, even in the relative safety of the UK.
So what can you do to help these young people build their confidence, improve their mental wellbeing and become active British citizens. Our mentoring programme is a 12 month personal development project that matches unaccompanied refugee and asylum seeking children with professionals from various sectors including law, finance and clinicians. These individuals volunteer their time to help make a positive impact on the foster child’s life. The programme cover four key areas;
1. Real Life; getting to know each other, a look at aspirations and goals.
2. Real Skills; where the young person can build a good CV, get some work experience and share skills.
3. Real People; here they will learn about becoming role models, citizenship and how to communicate effectively, finally,
4. Real Project; a great opportunity for the mentor and mentee to make an impact in their own community. They will plan, manage and deliver a community action project of their choice. Our current mentees are learning to love Britain and its people. They are doing the British thing of giving back. They are themselves, becoming British.