Arranging a long term cultural exchange trip or sending a teenager to study abroad on a short term basis can be a difficult process. Finding accommodation is one of the hardest tasks, because under 18s are classed as children and many forms of accommodation in London have a minimum age restriction of 18. Hotels and hostels are unlikely to take unsupervised U18s, and safety is paramount when it comes to booking the right accommodation.
Homestay is an often over-looked accommodation option that is very well suited to under 18s. Homestay is accommodation with a “host family”. A homestay experience gives under 18s the independence they desire whilst also offering valid support and a family lifestyle. For example, you can choose whether to have meals included so you know your teen is being well fed! If you’re sending your child abroad to study then it is one of the safest and most appropriate accommodation types.
London attracts lots of youngsters aged 16, 17 and 18 including foreign students and interns, and a homestay is the perfect accommodation option. A HFS London host provides a safe and warm home and is always welcoming, helping young students to settle into their new life. Parents don’t need to worry about who their child will be staying with – all homestay hosts and their families have to pass safety checks before joining HFS London as a host. Your host will have an enhanced DBS criminal history check, hosts will need two great character references, to show ID to register and they also have to follow our safeguarding policy.
We even make the transition easier by offering airport transfers and meal plans for each young person staying with us. Group bookings of under 18s are also welcome for school trips.
A note on “Private Fostering” and Homestay
In the UK, if a child is aged under 16 years old and stays with another adult who is not a relative for more than 28 days, then this is Private Fostering.
Therefore an U16 year old staying with a host family for more than 28 days, legally speaking, will extend beyond the homestay set-up. It will also have to be classified as a Private Fostering arrangement. This would equally be the case if an U16 is sent to the UK to study and the parents have a friend who is willing to let them live in their home.
At HFS London, we currently only provide homestay accommodation to students aged 16 or over. However, many students under 16 are booked to stay with host families throughout London. This is mainly through language schools providing English (EFL) language classes, or summer camps for younger students.
If you are thinking about sending under 16s to the UK for more than 28 days, then please be aware that there are additional rules around Private Fostering. Parents of students or their agents should be aware of these extra requirements.
How can we help?
Are you looking for somewhere to stay in London for an U18, or a group of U18s? Call us today to discuss the options.