The Right to be Heard and Participation of Unaccompanied Children: A tool to support the collection of children's views on protection and reception services

Save the Children Sweden together with UNHCR’s Bureau for Europe, NIDOS in the Netherlands, Coram Children’s Legal Centre in the UK, Save the Children Italy, Don Calabria Institute, the Italian Ministry of Labour and Social Policies in Italy and the County Administration in Västra Götaland in Sweden, have received funding from the EU for a 12 month project, ending in September 2014. The project aims were to identify and promote good practices on reception and protection of unaccompanied migrant children based on national mappings carried out in Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK.

As working with unaccompanied children means working in a dynamic arena (the target group having the specific characteristics mentioned above; numbers and backgrounds of those arriving being uncertain; partners having different goals, tasks and policies on both national and European level), it is a challenge to fulfil legal obligations in an effective way and support the unaccompanied children concerned to ensure their best possible development and independence. The interests of the child being of the utmost importance in this context, it is important to gain insight into the children’s wishes and needs concerning the care being provided to them and the realisation of their rights in society in general.

For this reason, a set of methods has been developed by Nidos (the Dutch guardianship institution responsible for unaccompanied children in the Netherlands), that can be used for receiving feedback from unaccompanied children. They enable organisations working with these children to measure to what extent the development goals that are being pursued (for example, being self-supporting at 18 in a methodology for guardianship) are being met. Do the children and young people become sufficiently independent? How about their wellbeing? Are they satisfied with the quality of their life and the support being offered to them? Will they be able to manage their own affairs/life once they turn 18 and build up their life without notable help from adults, in the host country or in their country of origin? These are questions that are being addressed in the tool.

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Published 2016-05-20