Yorkshire young asylum seekers fostering project gets £500k

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Media captionFormer child refugee Hossein Ahmadi on how Britain 'saved his life'

A foster scheme in Yorkshire is to benefit from £500,000 of government funding to help find carers for child refugees arriving in the UK.

Migration Yorkshire successfully applied for the cash from the Home Office to initiate 240 new foster placements in the region.

Hossein Ahmadi, who is 19, fled Iran in 2015 when he was 14 years old.

He lived with a foster family in Leeds. "I can't go home because the government will execute me," he said.

Migration Yorkshire works with unaccompanied children who are seeking asylum.

It said it had seen the number of youngsters being cared for in the region double from 130 in 2016 to 260 in 2018.

Father killed

In addition to the 240 foster placements, the group also hopes to use the money to cover 150 supported-living placements and provide training for 500 social workers.

Mr Ahmadi said when he was a child his father was killed for having links with the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran.

He said he fled for his life from the country after his elder brother was taken prisoner during a raid on the family home.

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Image caption Foster families are being sought for young asylum seekers in the UK

"I don't even know if my mum is still alive," he said.

"I miss her and want to find her but I can't go home because the government will either execute me or put me in prison."

Reflect diversity

The Migration Yorkshire project involves local authorities across the region.

Potential carers are being recruited from those who have "not fostered before from a range of different backgrounds to better reflect the diversity of the refugees", a spokesperson for the project said.

Figures from the Home Office show most young refugees needing homes are aged between 14 and 17-years old and have fled war-torn countries.

Across the UK in 2018 there were 2,872 asylum applications from unaccompanied young refugees.

That figure shows a rise of 20% on the previous year, the Home Office said, adding that most unaccompanied child refugees given permission to stay had applied for asylum.

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