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  • Shelters for asylum seekers and migrants in Mexico
  • Mexico
  • Mexico is a transit country for people migrating to the United States, and has also become an important destination country for many fleeing violence in Central America and elsewhere. In recent years, migration routes through Mexico have become more dangerous due to a rise restrictive policies that put people at greater risk, pushing them into the hands of criminal organizations, human smugglers, and drug traffickers. A network of humanitarian aid organisations have emerged to operate numerous shelters, providing an alternative to immigration detention described as an ‘oasis’ along the dangerous migration routes in Mexico. La 72 is one such shelter operating in the region. La 72 is supported by Doctors without Borders, Asylum Access, the Red Cross, the UNHCR and various Mexican NGOs, and provides legal counsel and representation for those seeking asylum. There are now over 85 organisations like La 72 offering food, shelter, safety, and a ‘humanitarian space’ where migrants can feel dignified and supported. The shelters serve as alternatives to detention, ensuring the right to freedom of movement.
  • Practice
  • Placement Options
  • Community without conditions
  • Asylum seekers
  • All
  • Transit
  • Group homes for unaccompanied refugee children in Spain
  • Spain
  • The regional government of Andalusia last year became the first in Spain to host unaccompanied Syrian refugee children such as Mahmud. Since September, it has welcomed eight youngsters aged 15 to 17 – six boys and two girls – all relocated from Greece. The aim was to provide a safe, nurturing environment in a residential setting with social, health, education and culture and leisure resources designed to “favour their social development” and help them feel integrated. ... Now they live at a group home in a quiet backstreet where the loudest sound is a trilling canary. The youngsters share spotless rooms, sit together for meals and attend secondary schools, in a project run by the regional government of Andalusia and supported by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. ... The children are offered after-school activities as part of the effort to integrate them into the town of 60,000 inhabitants south of the provincial capital, Granada. These range from Spanish evening classes at the Club UNESCO Motril, where Bienvenido teaches, to work experience and volunteering.
  • Practice
  • Placement Options
  • Community without conditions
  • Refugees
  • Unaccompanied and Separated Children
  • Holistic care for unaccompanied children in Italy
  • Italy
  • The Zampa law, as the new measure is known, is the first comprehensive act for unaccompanied children in Italy. It calls for a series of measures - fully aligned with UNICEF recommendations - to protect refugee and migrant children, including: Unaccompanied and separated foreign children will not be subjected to “refoulement” or returns that may cause them harm; Reduce the time these children spend in first-line reception centres; Promote guardianship for children by using trained volunteers from the regional child and youth agency and promote foster care and host families for children; Harmonize and improve procedures for age assessment in a child-sensitive manner; Establish a structured and streamlined national reception system, with minimum standards in all reception facilities; Roll out extensive use of qualified cultural mediators* to communicate and interpret needs of vulnerable adolescents. The new law includes additional budgetary provisions on top of €600 million which the Government of Italy had already allocated in 2016 to municipalities, groups and caregivers to help them cope with the large influx of refugees and migrants in reception centres.
  • Policy
  • Placement Options
  • Community without conditions
  • Migrants
  • Refugees
  • Unaccompanied and Separated Children
  • Holistic support for refugee children in Austria
  • Austria
  • In Austria, SOS Children’s Villages has 15 years of professional experience in providing quality care to refugee children and supporting their integration. To respond to the current refugee crisis in Europe, SOS Children’s Villages Austria has been creating customized places for 300 children in newly established facilities since 2015, offering a range of alternative care options: small group homes, semi-independent living, foster care, integration and specialised education programmes. Recently, a group home in Linz was established to accommodate 15 unaccompanied refugees. Native-speaking psychiatrists and therapists, as well as professional interpreters, are available to support the children. The nearby public schools offer a great opportunity for the successful integration of the young refugees. SOS Children’s Villages Austria has also set up ‘Biwak’ living communities for unaccompanied refugee children between the ages of 12 and 18, who require a daily structure and specialised socio-pedagogical support. They stay at the ‘Biwak’ until the age of legal adulthood. Furthermore, SOS Children’s Villages Austria advocates for the right of all children to quality care and education, which is not equally ensured to refugee children by current leg- 8 11 islation. For example, compulsory schooling is provided by law for children aged 14-18, but not for young asylum seekers, because of their uncertain status.
  • Practice
  • Placement Options
  • Community without conditions
  • Refugees
  • Children
  • Unaccompanied and Separated Children
  • Comprehensive reception and care arrangements for unaccompanied children seeking asylum in Austria
  • Austria
  • Guardianship - The Children and Youth Service Authorities becomes the guardian of UAMs. This is for all minors, irrespective of age and status. Usually the guardians’ duties include care and education, asset management and legal representation but some duties may be outsourced to reception facilities, NGOs or law firms. Practical implementation varies according to UAM's place of residence as guardianship is the competence of each individual province and that there are no guidelines concerning its implementation - practice has been criticised as being inconsistent. Each UAM is allocated a "Supervisor" who s/he can refer any questions or problems to. Legal representative - UAMs who seek asylum are also appointed a legal advisor during the admission procedure. Once admitted, have access to free legal advice as per other asylum seekers. Accommodation and reception - Organized reception facilities (apartment-sharing groups (majority)), residential homes; supervised accommodation). Access to education - equal access to primary education as Austrian children; secondary education more challenging and often only with help of NGOs and private organizations. Asylum seeking minors can be granted work permit for vocational training with certain conditions/restrictions. Access to healthcare - general health insurance system. Residence Options -asylum status (permanent residence); subsidiary protection status (1 year residency, extendable for 2 year periods); residence permit or residece permit plus (on grounds of Article 8 ECHR); residence permit for individual protection (trafficking, victim of violence or grounds for tolerated stay); Red-White-Red Card plus ; Tolerated Stay (if removal is not possible). Age Assessment - The multifactorial medical age assessment includes physical, dental and radiological examinations. The combined results of these examinations lead to a defined minimum age. Until the assessment has been undertaken and the results are available, the potential UAM – as a matter of principle – is treated as a minor.
  • Practice
  • Placement Options
  • Community without conditions
  • Asylum seekers
  • Unaccompanied and Separated Children
  • Ad hoc foster care practice in Austria
  • Austria
  • Reception and living in families is not common for unaccompanied minors in Austria. At the moment, the city of Graz in the federated state Styria (Steiermark) is the only place in Austria that accommodates unaccompanied minors in foster families. is is seen by those delivering the family care environment as a good practice which delivers positive outcomes in the children’s lives.

    The foster care organization Pflegefamilie Austria was more or less coincidentally asked by the city of Graz to accommodate some unaccompanied minors in 2012. Therefore, they have 6 unaccompanied children aged 13-15 living with foster families (children over 16 are accommodated by Caritas in Graz and not in foster families). A distinction is made between children that are allowed to stay in Austria and those that have to return, as the organization strongly believes that a child should be able settle and integrate. Although Pflegefamilie Austria is quite satisfied with the results and even managed to provide foster families with the same cultural backgrounds, it is not aiming to expand this approach, nor is it being requested to.

    Another good practice is taking place in Salzburg, where Kinder- und Jugendanwaltscha (Kija) is preparing a project on accommodating unaccompanied minors in foster families. Kija is the ombudsman for children that exists in every federated state in Austria. It looks at the functioning of the youth care system and advises on changes to the system where necessary. Although Kija does not yet have the financial means for the project and is currently looking for ways to fund it, the first placement (of a 16-year-old Afghan boy) in a foster family in Salzburg was a promising development in August 2014. The social department of the federated state of Salzburg states that this was an exception, as unaccompanied minors do not fall under the regular youth care system but rather under basic care arrangements. However, together with Kija, Asylkoordination Österreich believes foster care is useful and legally possible for unaccompanied minors. They maintain that federated states should realize that a minor is a minor, regardless of where they come from, and that all children should therefore be treated equally.

    The member of the federated state council in Salzburg who is responsible for integration agrees, and embraces the idea of foster care for unaccompanied minors. She has proposed to facilitate it everywhere in Austria within a nationwide working group of people responsible for the reception of unaccompanied minors. She has also urged the federated state of Salzburg to investigate whether such foster care can be organized within the state. The general idea in the federated state of Salzburg is that such a placement will cost €670 euro a month, which is the amount of money received by youth care foster families who care for an 11-year-old.

    The various stakeholders do not regard the general situation in Austria concerning foster care for unaccompanied children as an overnight change, given that integration and awareness of the main issues are still di cult topics concerning refugees in Austria. However, they are beginning to think of ways to realize a more individual approach towards the reception of unaccompanied minors, with foster care being one of the options considered. is is also the case for the youth care department of Tirol, for instance. When contacted about this project, the coordinator for unaccompanied minors in that federated state explained that foster care for unaccompanied minors is not yet available in Tirol but that it is believed to be a good alternative to institutional care and worthy of consideration for the future. Another expert stated that everybody in the field would welcome foster care for unaccompanied minors, especially for the younger ones.
  • Practice
  • Placement Options
  • Community without conditions
  • Asylum seekers
  • Unaccompanied and Separated Children
  • Residential schools for unaccompanied children in Israel
  • Israel
  • In ISRAEL, based on a joint decision by an inter-ministerial committee led by the Ministry of Justice, UASC aged between 14 and 17 are integrated in residential schools called “youth villages” together with Israeli youth. Israeli youth opting for this kind of secondary education are mainly from migrant backgrounds or youth facing socio-economic difficulties.

    UASC are placed in small groups in these youth villages gathering up to 150-300 young people (the number of UASC generally constitutes a maximum of 10% of the total school population). Each child that arrives from detention centres undergoes an intake and his/her situation is monitored by the staff in charge (usually a child and youth care worker/social worker). Children are divided in the youth village by age groups, boys and girls separately, and live together with Israeli youth in the same groups. Emphasis is on a community approach – e. g. where staff live with their families alongside the students. The staff includes directors, teachers, educators, child and youth care workers, social workers and other psycho-social staff as needed and also volunteers like national service volunteers. Children are provided with a safe environment, access to local school and all other comprehensive services in accordance with their developmental needs (health care, dental care, cloth- ing, full board accommodation, sports and other social activities, pocket money, psychological counseling if needed, etc.). Wherever possible, Israeli “host families” are matched with the UASC for hosting them in vacation periods.
    Children enjoy freedom of movement and are provided with identity certificates that are issued by each youth village separately. The Israeli immigration authority issues UASC living in youth villages a “conditional release” visa, similar to the visa all asylum-seekers receive in Israel. The youth villages are supervised and financed by the Ministry of Education. From 2008-2014, more than 400 UASC from African countries were placed in the youth villages.
  • Policy
  • Placement Options
  • Community without conditions
  • Migrants
  • Unaccompanied and Separated Children