The EMN report “Children in Migration” maps the progress made by the EU Member States and Norway in 2019 with regards to the implementation of the recommendations laid down in the Commission Communication on the protection of children in migration.
The report covers the following areas of protection: swift and comprehensive identification and protection; providing adequate reception in the EU; ensuring swift and effective access to status determination procedures and implementation of procedural safeguards; detention for the purpose of return of unaccompanied minors and families with children; ensuring durable solutions; transition to adulthood; cross-cutting actions.
The key findings of the EMN report indicate that most of the Member States foresee the presence of an official with adequate training during the identification and registration procedure of minors and provide special training to border guards and police authorities. Families with children applying for asylum are in general accommodated in reception facilities for asylum seekers while unaccompanied minors are usually accommodated in special reception centres. Most Member States provide for a guardian or representative to unaccompanied minors recorded within the asylum system; in half of them, this support is also available for unaccompanied minors recorded within other migration procedures.
As for the integration, the Member States generally do not have a specific policy or strategy for the integration of minors of a migrant background. However, national programmes promoting the integration of migrant children are implemented in some Member States, and some progress was reported in 2019.
According to the report, detention of unaccompanied minors and minors with families is legally permitted in several Member States, however, this is only implemented as a last resort and under strong safeguards to protect the well-being of the minors.
Generally, when unaccompanied children reach the age of majority, they are required to leave the child protection system (i.e. childcare facilities and guardianship system). Some Member States allow those who turn 18 to stay in their care placement or in child-specific accommodation until they finish the school year, and in some cases, until they complete their vocational training or higher education studies. The duration and type of support varies between the Member States. Most often they are provided with support in finding accommodation, education, psychological and financial support.
The information provided by the Member States refers to the policy, legislative and practice frameworks. Additional information provided by the non-governmental organisations helps illustrate some of the challenges faced. The report covers the following categories of children as set out in the 2017 EC Communication: accompanied minors/families with children, separated children, unaccompanied minors recorded within the asylum system, unaccompanied minors not applying for asylum but recorded within other migration procedures, and unaccompanied minors who remain outside the asylum/migration/(child) protection system.