Manuals, Toolkits and Guidance

Guardianship for children deprived of parental care: A handbook to reinforce guardianship systems to cater for the specific needs of child victims of trafficking

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FRA, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights

A report on child trafficking published by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in 2009 showed significant differences among European Union (EU) Member States on how the concept of guardian is understood and applied. In addition, interviews carried out by the FRA for a report on separated children seeking asylum published in 2010 revealed that the quality of the services and the degree of protection offered to children under existing guardianship systems may vary considerably even within the same state.

In this framework of diverse national practices, the Anti-Trafficking Directive (2011/36/EU) requires Member States to appoint a guardian or a representative for a child victim of trafficking from the moment the child is identified by the authorities as unaccompanied as well as in cases where the holders of parental responsibility cannot ensure the child’s best interest and/or represent the child. The EU Strategy towards the eradication of trafficking in human beings 2012–2016 also recognises that comprehensive child-sensitive protection systems, ensuring interagency and multidisciplinary coordination, are key in catering to the needs of diverse groups of children, including victims of trafficking. The EU Strategy therefore included the publication of this handbook.

This handbook aims to strengthen the protection of children by assisting national authorities and other stakeholders across the EU to further develop existing guardianship systems. It seeks to clarify the role of guardians as an essential component of an integrated child protection system. 

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