The forum project (Austria)

The FORUM project aims to develop foster care services for Unaccompanied Migrant Children in Europe as the most viable option to ensure children’s rights while boosting an efficient and sustainable service as an alternative to the reception centers.
In the first semester of 2016, 34.285 Unaccompanied Migrant Children (aged 0-17) applied for asylum in the European Union – an average of 30% of the total asylum claims. In the next ten years, due to political instability and wars in many developing countries, this number is expected to dramatically rise.
Undoubtedly, some services provided by reception centres do not fully comply with the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Moreover, many key actors do not consider Unaccompanied Migrant Children as being children before being migrants.
Precisely for their specific status and for the high degree of vulnerability, Unaccompanied Migrant Children reception in Europe must be addressed considering that they need a legal guardian first and special care and attention secondly. Too often the range of solutions in European States is limited to residential care without considering as a priority the best interest of the child.
The project intends to boost foster care for Unaccompanied Migrant Children by reducing the gaps amongst the countries with major and minor experience in the provision of foster care services through three different interventions:

1. Advocate at local, national and European level for foster care services development. Which was done through the dissemination of information and a national conference.

2. Transfer specific knowledge from more experienced partners to the less experienced ones. An interdisciplinary group of experts produced a training package which referred to questionnaires answered in every country and set out national standards for Unaccompanied Migrant Children foster care which are now adapted to the national context. 

3. Provide new tools and fresh knowledge on Unaccompanied Migrant Children foster care services to professionals of the project target countries. These trainings and knowledge sharing sessions will be held in the next months.

For further information about the project and access to the training material, visit: https://forum-project.alberodellavita.org