Earlier this week, Eurodiaconia hosted its first webinar on the social inclusion of children in migration, which provided an overview of the most pressing challenges and problems experienced by migrant children and youth below the age of 18.

The key areas of concern addressed in this session relate to the high risk of experiencing violence in inadequate reception centers, the lack of protection and access to health care services and challenges in accessing education.

The EU’s Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and UNICEF highlight that consistent measures to protect vulnerable migrant children and to contribute to their social inclusion are yet to be put in place across the EU. Against this background, the webinar discussed alternatives to institutionalised care and emphasised the importance of operational family reunification schemes to ensure that families are kept together. The European Commission’s Communication on the protection of children in migration was discussed as one concrete strategy to improve the situation in hotspots and promoting better care services. The webinar also stressed the role of schools in establishing a social network and normalcy in the life of migrant children that is crucial for integration. Particular attention was given to the challenging situation of unaccompanied children and youth and our Swedish member, Stockholms Stadsmission presented their work in helping this target group to take informed and self-confident decisions about their future.

In the context of the EU Action Plan for the integration of third-country nationals, Eurodiaconia has been advocating for the integration of migrant children, including better access to education for young third- country nationals. Eurodiaconia and its members will further develop their knowledge about the situation of children in migration at the Migration Network Meeting, which will take place from the 26 to 27 of November in Athens, Greece. The aim of the meeting will be to further develop our understanding about the challenges faced by child migrants, exchange best practices and enhance members’ capacity to provide care and protection for them. The meeting will also include a study visit to a project providing support for children in migration.

To know more about the challenges faced by migrant children, watch our webinar online.