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Care for a young asylum seeker FAQs

1. Why we need host families?

The City of Edinburgh Council has a responsibility to meet the needs of unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) who have arrived via a number of different routes in Edinburgh. Some of these young people will have their needs addressed and met in our residential centres before they graduate to more independent living. Others may have their needs met by foster carers. For some, aged 16/17 their needs may be best met by living in a host family which is a family in the Edinburgh area able to provide a safe, nurturing and supportive environment for these young people.

2. Who are the young people seeking asylum?

Unaccompanied asylum seeking children may speak little or no English when they arrive, and may have travelled for many months before arriving here. They may have experienced living in refugee camps, physical and sexual assault on a regular basis, being trafficked across Europe , living in war zones, basic needs not being met (a lack of food, shelter, clothing , warmth) and separation from their families. These young people also face uncertainty about their future life in Britain as their immigration status and right to remain are uncertain.

3. What are the criteria for becoming a carer?

  • You must live in Edinburgh or within a 30 minute drive of the City.
  • You must have a spare room (and permission from your housing provider if in rented accommodation).
  • It would be helpful to have relevant experience/transferrable skills /in caring for young people
  • You can be married, single or in a partnership
  • You can be employed/unemployed
  • We welcome enquiries from all ethnic groups and cultures
  • Be available and flexible to work in partnership with other professionals.

4. What’s involved in hosting?

  • The young person may live with you until they are able to safely sustain an independent living situation.
  • Prior to any young person being placed with you we will expect you to attend a group session where you will be given information to assist in looking after these traumatised teenagers.
  • We will carry out a number of checks with you and any adult members of your household, i.e. health/PVG(police)/personal references, local authority.
  • An assessment of you and your family will be undertaken by a dedicated social worker. This assessment will collect evidence of your circumstances and ability to meet the needs of Unaccompanied asylum seeking children. This assessment is presented to one of the council’s agency decision makers for their approval.
  • We will also provide ongoing social work support, and links to third sector providers for any additional support required.
  • While the young person is living with your family we will pay an allowance to assist with living expenses.
  • The young person will be assisted in accessing education where appropriate.

5. What is the process for hosting with Edinburgh?

  • Register your interest by:

– Ringing our Fosterline on 0800 174 833  to speak to a member of the team or  find out more about our forthcoming Information Event

– Emailing

  • Initial enquiry – consists of one visit and initial checks (PVG, medical and local authority checks for you and any relevant family members)
  • Following a successful initial enquiry you will be invited to a one off group information session, which will provide some background on the needs of the young people.
  • Your designated social worker will undertake a number of visits before compiling a report
  • This report will be shared with you and relevant professionals and will later serve as a profile when considering a young person.

6.  If I can’t be a host family are there other ways to assist?

To let us know how you can help with these young people please contact us on our Fosterline on 0800 174 833, or email We would like to hear from you.