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Care for a young asylum seeker FAQs

1. Why we need host families?

Edinburgh has been asked by the Scottish Government to care for a number of unaccompanied asylum seeking young people. Children under 16 years of age will be cared for by City of Edinburgh Council registered foster carers. However, young people aged 16+ will require accommodation out with the fostering service, i.e with Host Families, who can provide a safe, nurturing, environment.

2. Who are the young people seeking asylum?

These young people are likely to be, mainly, males, aged 16-18yrs, from a range of countries across the Middle East and East Africa, Afghanistan ,Iraq, Eritrea and Syria. They 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 – food, shelter, clothing , warmth, and separation from their families. They will need a safe,caring environment and help to develop independent living skills as they move into adulthood.

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 .
• A basic assessment of you and your family will be undertaken by a dedicated social worker. It is anticipated this assessment will be time-limited and restricted to three home visits.
• 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 three assessment visits before compiling a written report on you and your family.
  • This report will be shared with you and relevant professionals and will later serve as a profile when considering a young person.
  • We anticipate from start to end, pending outcome of any checks and references, this process is likely to take up to 8 weeks.

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.