Reflections on caring for an unaccompanied asylum seeker

A guest blog post by Maura Daly & Mark Smith

We are both experienced social workers, now social work academics. For almost thirty years, we have been respite carers for disabled children. Following from Alf Dubbs’ brokering the deal to bring unaccompanied asylum seeking children [UASC] to the UK from the Calais Camps in 2016, our local authority took five boys. They were initially housed together in a residential care unit before the local authority put out a call to respite carers asking if they might extend their remit to take one of the boys. Our personal circumstances at that point were such that we could do so, so we agreed and within a few weeks Bona*, a sixteen-year-old African boy, had moved in with us. Four and a half years later, he has just completed his second year at university in a different city but, like our own kids, is back and forward and is very much part of our family.

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