Информационен портал за неправителствените организации в България

Защита на деца в миграция (на английски език)

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Protection of children in migration

Migrant children continue to arrive to the EU in relatively large numbers. From the 34,376 irregular migrants who arrived to the EU by land or sea or land in the first half of 2019, 23% are children. According to EASO, in 2018, children lodged 159,000 asylum applications in the EU+.[2] The number of unaccompanied migrant children arriving to the EU frontline Member States is notable: in Spain, 13,500 estimated to be present on the territory at the end of 2018, in Italy 8,500, and in Greece 3,700.

The 2017 Communication on the protection of children in migration is still actual. The Communication identified serious gaps in the protection offered to migrant children in different areas, and set out recommendations on how to address the gaps identified. The Communication had highlighted the need to provide adequate reception and support to the migrant children, including in terms of accommodation, access to basic services, and specialised support for the most vulnerable, and the negative impact that detention measures may have on children, especially when detention is the consequence of an irregular migration status. The Communication thus recommended to work towards ensuring the availability of alternative care systems and of effective alternatives to administrative detention on migration grounds.

According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), a child should grow up in a family environment, and children temporarily deprived of their family environment, including migrant children, are entitled to special protection and assistance. In line with the requirements of Art. 24(2) of the Reception Conditions Directive (2013/33/EU), unaccompanied children seeking to obtain international protection in the EU must be provided suitable and safe reception conditions, which include placement with a foster family, accommodation centres with special provision for children, or other suitable accommodation, such as supervised independent living arrangements for older children. The UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children (2010) constitute relevant standards in this respect.

The notion of "alternative care" in this context is not only about offering suitable accommodation outside the traditional reception institutions, but also about providing suitable assistance to the children - which should be tailored to their individual needs, besides facilitating access to education and healthcare.

Nowadays there is consensus amongst EU stakeholders that well-managed alternative care systems are more beneficial to the well-being and harmonious development of the unaccompanied migrant children. Notably so, alternative care systems are also less costly than institutional reception facilities. Yet, for a variety of reasons – of legal, cultural, socio-economic nature - at present only a small number of unaccompanied and separated migrant children arriving to the EU have the opportunity to benefit from quality alternative care, while the majority are still placed in institutional reception facilities. Nonetheless, there is a growing wealth of knowledge and expertise on how to provide quality alternative care, which needs however to be shared and spread across the Member States. 

Alternatives to the detention of migrant children are foreseen by the legislation of several Member States, yet in practice, the alternatives are either not used or used in a limited way. Furthermore, as flagged in the Communication, in some instances migrant children are being detained only due to a shortage of places in suitable and safe accommodation. 
The 2018 AMIF Call for Proposals has already proposed as a priority to finance projects facilitating the exchange of good practices and the provision of training on how to access alternative care systems and to support their operation (including by training the families providing the care), and respectively, on the effective use of alternatives to detention. In view of the importance and topicality of the two subjects – i.e., alternative care systems and alternatives to detention, the present Call shall continue the financing of projects on the same subjects.

Concretely, the objective of this topic is to fund:
  • Projects focusing on the exchange of good practices and/or provision of the necessary training across the Member States so as to support the implementation/expansion/improvement of alternative/non-institutionalised care systems for the migrant children (such as family-based care, or foster care, or supervised independent housing arrangements, etc.) and/or of effective alternatives to the detention of children on grounds related to migration. (Projects with an exclusively national/regional/local focus should seek AMIF funding via the National Programmes, taking account of projects already co-funded in this area.

  • Exchange of good practices and/or training and/or logistic support for the implementation/expansion/improvement of alternative care systems for migrant children, such as foster care, family-based care and/or supervised independent living where appropriate.
  • Exchange of good practices and/or training and/or logistic support for the implementation/expansion/improvement of effective alternatives to detention, such as regular reporting to the authorities (by the appointed representative/family-based care/foster carers), the deposit of a financial guarantee, or an obligation to stay at an assigned place.

This topic does not aim to fund actions involving::
  1. Institutionalised care systems
  2. Capacity-building for institutional care systems
  3. Operating costs for family-based/foster care systems/supervised independent living/alternatives to detention (such as the cost of hiring staff, rental of buildings, purchase of real estate etc.)
  4. Research on foster/family-based/independent living systems or alternatives to detention (there is already ample research available on these subjects

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