Little is known about separated asylum seeking young people in foster care. This article addresses this gap by drawing together findings from qualitative research conducted with separated refugee and asylum seeking young people in two studies – one in England and one in Ireland. Focusing on the role of culture, the authors examine similar findings from the two studies on the significance of culture in young people’s experiences of foster care. Culturally ‘matched’ placements are often assumed to provide continuity in relation to cultural identity. This article draws on young people’s accounts of ‘matched’ and ‘non-matched’ placements to examine the extent to which this may be the case for separated young people. It was found that young people regarded it as important to maintain continuity in relation to their cultures of origin, but that cultural ‘matching’ with foster carers according to country of origin and/or religion was not the only means for achieving this. The authors suggest that practitioners need to adopt an individualised approach in determining whether a ‘matched’ or a cross-cultural placement best meets the various needs of separated young people, including their identity development needs.
Source: Childhood, published online before print February 13, 2014.
The final, definitive version of this paper has been published in Childhood, first published online 13 February 2014 by SAGE Publications Ltd, All rights reserved. © [Muireann Ní Raghallaigh and Ala Sirriyeh].