Welcoming Young Refugees

Welcoming Young Refugees logo

What is it?

Welcoming Young Refugees [WYR] is a regional project to recruit new foster carers for unaccompanied asylum seeking children [UASC] and to support local authority employees to provide high quality support to the young asylum seekers and refugees in their care.

We encourage and support organisations to develop and share good practice.


Who we are

All of the local authorities in Yorkshire and Humber are project partners and part of the project’s steering group.

Migration Yorkshire provides project and operational management, coordinates the training provision, carries out research and leads on communications. Here are the key contacts:

Project management – Dinah Beckett [photographed above]

Operational management – Delphine Jacobs

Training – Sarah Botterill

Research lead – Dr Vanja Celebicic

Social workers who specialise in foster carer recruitment make up the WYR project team. 

Fostering recruitment social worker – Jess Adams

Fostering recruitment social worker - Rosie Cooke

Jess and Rosie’s posts are hosted by Sheffield and Bradford councils respectively, but the team covers the whole region.

What we do

Recruiting potential new foster carers

We’re really keen to make contact with people and communities who are specifically interested in caring for young refugees. If you're interested, please visit our 'Find out about fostering' web pages. We work closely with local fostering teams, trying to make sure that our marketing efforts complement their existing foster carer recruitment campaigns in each area.

Our social workers attend local events where potential carers can meet us and have an informal chat. Once someone has said they’re interested in taking things further, one of our social workers will speak with them by phone and at a home visit; if they’re happy to proceed, we then pass them on to the local authority fostering assessment team for a formal assessment.


We provide a range of training courses for local authority social workers and foster carers, for example:

  • For professionals: courses covering issues such as age assessment and triple planning.
  • For anyone working with or supporting UASC: courses including ‘Psychological first aid’ and ‘Surviving to thriving’.
  • For foster carers: courses such as ‘Welcoming and supporting young refugees’.

See Training and conferences / UASC for information about our training and other courses relevant to working with UASC.

Research: someone who smiles, that's all you need

We’ve done research to better understand and meet the needs of UASC and their carers:

  • Hearing from young asylum seekers and refugees 
    We carried out interviews, conversations and creative workshops with young asylum seekers and refugees. Those who attended the workshops created digital stories which provide deeper understanding of their experiences. The process provided the researcher with intimate insights into the young people’s views and perspectives on their new life in the region.
  • Hearing from carers and social workers
    We did more structured interviews with carers and social workers, gathering information on their experiences, challenges and successes.

Hear Vanja, our researcher, talking about the research

Click here to download the full research report or summary: 'Someone who smiles, that's all you need' - it should be of particular interest to professionals and carers who support UASC.

Our timeline so far

January 2018

Start of WYR.

Start of the training programme.

February 2018

First issue of the UASC update, now regularly emailed to interested parties in the region.

May-August 2018

Research with young people.

October 2018

First WYR social worker starts in post.

September - December 2018

Research with social workers and carers.

November 2018

Launch of the UASC hub - an online portal full of useful information for social workers and foster carers.

May 2019

Official launch of carer recruitment at a high profile regional event with guest of honour Lord Alf Dubs [in the photo below], social workers, foster carers and young people from around the region. We launched the young people’s digital stories at this event.

Lord Dubs

June 2019

First family passed on to their local authority to be assessed for being foster carers for young refugees.

November 2019

Young people’s digital stories shown at Leeds Film Festival.

Release of WYR research report [2.6 MB - pdf format]

January 2020

Passed 1000 people attending WYR-provided training on supporting young refugees.

April 2020

Completion of Ipsos Mori’s project evaluation - watch this space for the report!

October 2020

WYR finishes – but our work with potential foster carers will be continued by the local authority fostering teams.

How to contact us

Who funds us?

WYR is funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government through the Controlling Migration Fund.


Page last updated: 31/05/2020 12:01:26

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