Foster Care and Refugees

PCC Fostering and care for Refugees.
Pauline was watching the news one day when she saw a clip about a Norwegian ship which had picked up a crowd of drowning refugees off the coast of Australia.  The Australian government at the time would not allow them to land and some of them died.
Pauline was very angry about the injustice of it all and wanted to do something about it. To cut a long story short out of that event, with the support of Rainbow Churches, a new company was born called Phoenix Community Care Ltd (PCC). This company then began talking with the local authorities about the possibility of helping with refuges in the UK.  We were welcomed with open arms as the need was and still is, great.  In our area the Muslims were very supportive right from the beginning, they already had 9 homes, and they were incredibly helpful to us with advice on initial set up.
Ten years ago the PCC began work with its first home, decorated and donated by Carla Mayer. Ten years on we can house 30+ in our own properties with support workers caring for both 16 and 17 year old unaccompanied minors (young people in the UK without parents or guardians). We also care for 18+ year olds who are considered vulnerable, often young ladies escaping from war and rape situations. Alongside this we have added the housing and support care of those who have been in the care system but whom the authority deem not quite ready for total self-support.
Some years ago we recognised that foster care was also needed for youngsters in the country without parents, and after being registered as foster care agency, a long, complex and difficult process, we began to foster a young person of around 9 years old, who could not speak English and had been found by the Police after wandering around in a Supermarket for many hours, now happily placed with good foster parents by the PCC agency.  
My cry is can you do something as well? Since the events surrounding Baby P and the latest child death recorded by Birmingham Social Services, social workers are unwilling to take any risks and at the time of writing there are some 4,000 children who need foster carers but for whom there is no foster carer.  Could you volunteer? Could you be a foster carer? Many people want to but think they couldn’t do it, well you just might be able to. Usually our first question, as an agency, to a prospective foster carer is, have you got a spare room?  That wasn’t a hard question was it?  Well can you help? Please phone us on 020 8887 6888 and if not us there is probably another local agency or your local authority.  To get a lot done all it needs is for a lot of good people do a little.
Adrian Hawkes
For the Insight Magazine
Editor: A. Brookes
28th July 2010

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