‘We need to talk about Bona’: an autoethnographic account of fostering an unaccompanied asylum seeker

Maura Daly, Mark Smith (Lead / Corresponding author)

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Abstract

This article offers an account of the authors’ experiences as foster carers for an unaccompanied asylum seeker (and through him, supporting other asylum-seeking boys). We are both qualified and experienced social workers, now social work academics living and working in Scotland, whose practice is informed by socio-pedagogical perspectives. Our backgrounds have given us unique and finely grained insights into the daily care issues facing young asylum seekers set against a backdrop of global movement. We discuss the need to provide care that offers cultural safety; the centrality within this of recognising and seeking to understand religious beliefs and practices; the experiences of young people growing up in conditions of liminality, negotiating two very different cultures; the inadequacy of current social work responses; the importance of everyday care and relationships and the need for a curious and reflexive orientation from caregivers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Social Pedagogy
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • foster care
  • social pedagogy
  • social work
  • Muslim
  • asylum
  • refugee
  • unaccompanied
  • autoethnography
  • Scotland

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