I’m Jill from Bristol and together with my husband Mike, we currently foster a 17-year-old unaccompanied asylum seeking young person called David. We also have a 5-year-old daughter of our own.
When David came to live with us he had only been speaking English for a few years, however, he showed a keen interest in helping others and very much wanted to do voluntary work and make a difference in other people’s lives. Finding the right opportunity was not that easy though.
Our Supervising Social Worker told us about an opportunity for David to apply to become a LILAC Assessor. LILAC is a project which is part of A National Voice. LILAC stands for ‘Leading Improvements for Looked After Children’. LILAC allows young people from care to assess the standard to participation across children’s services against a strict set of criteria. These standards have been designed by care-experienced young people. The aim is to improve the lives of Looked After Children and how well service providers consult with children in care and care leavers. We were very excited about this opportunity as we knew this was the type of work David was interested in.
David applied to become a LILAC Assessor and was invited to attend an interview in London. We supported David in making the travel arrangements and gave him guidance and instructions on keeping safe.
David’s application was successful. He was over the moon! We were very proud of him because he was responsible and handled the independence very well. His training presented him with a great opportunity for him to build new skills such as team working, presentation skills and to improve his self confidence. With this training David will be able to gain a Level 2 qualification by the National Open College Network.
We have been privileged to be a part of helping a young person to make a positive contribution to society as a whole. David is turning out to be a very well rounded young man, gaining in confidence and independence.
At the moment we are supporting him to have driving lessons. We look forward to supporting David to access university education as this is something he hopes to do in the very near future.
As foster carers we have come to realise that anything is possible for a foster child, including someone from another country who until five years ago, did not speak English. With determination and support from those around them and their own resilience, they can succeed in life.
As told by David’s foster carer
If you think you can foster a young person who is an unaccompanied asylum seeker, please enquire today.