Children constitute a large share of the migrants arriving to Europe: in 2019, from 123,700 migrants who arrived to the EU via the Mediterranean routes, 27% were children, often unaccompanied by family or adults responsible for them. 7.1% of children applying for asylum in the EU-27 in 2019 were unaccompanied, standing for 14,100 asylum applications. The majority of unaccompanied children were boys (85%), and two-thirds were aged 16 to 17 (9200 people) about to reach the age of maturity. It is indeed a common feature across the EU that the majority of the unaccompanied children registered as present on their territories are close to reaching the age of 18.
When an asylum applicant, refugee or migrant child reaches the age of 18, several legal protection measures and guarantees offered up until then cease to be available. Very frequently, unaccompanied children who turn 18 must immediately leave the specialised care facility, where they were accommodated as children. They immediately face difficulty in securing proper accommodation, if public support or third-party guarantees are not available for contracting on the real estate market. At the same time, young adults abruptly lose the benefit of guidance and support from their representative or guardian, whose legal mandate is then discontinued. In some jurisdictions, migrant children who have not obtained international or subsidiary protection or a humanitarian permit may have a difficulty to regularize their stay after turning 18. This may in turn impede any continued education or training, and respectively, their access to the labour market.
A 2014 study commissioned by the Council of Europe and the UNHCR identified several specific areas where transition to adulthood requires support, including psychological impact, specific guarantees in the asylum procedure, family reunification, access to education and vocational training, access to accommodation, health care and information.
The 2017 Communication on the protection of children in migration identified serious gaps in the protection offered to migrant children in various areas and set out recommendations on how to address those. The Commission highlighted that migrant children need continued support to facilitate their transition into adulthood – support that should be initiated prior to reaching maturity and continue after turning 18 years old.The 2017 Communication maintains its relevance and importance, particularly in light of the forthcoming Pact on Migration and Asylum and the ongoing reform of the Common European Asylum System.
Applicants are invited to take note of the following publications and further bibliography therein referenced:
The objective of the call is to stimulate and support the exchange of good practices and knowledge-sharing amongst various relevant actors - in particular public administrations and institutions, international organisation, private organisations and citizens (non-exhaustive list) - providing support to unaccompanied migrant children during their transition to adulthood.
This topic is not aimed at capacity-building for institutionalised care systems, or research on transition to adulthood and forms of supporting it.
Proposals should include actions aimed at increasing the exchange amongst relevant actors of good practices, and enhancing knowledge across the EU on supporting the transition of unaccompanied migrant children to adulthood, in particular:
The list above is not exhaustive or cumulative, and proposals may include other actions beyond those listed above. Proposal should clearly lay down how the actions will serve to increase the exchange of good practices and to enhance the knowledge across the EU on supporting the transition of unaccompanied migrant children to adulthood.
Good practices, trainings/and any other relevant activities for supporting the transition of unaccompanied migrant children to adulthood referred under this topic should relate to one or several areas where transition to adulthood requires support, such as for example psychological impact, specific guarantees in the asylum procedure, family reunification, access to information, access to education and/or vocational training, access to accommodation and health care.
Proposals should ensure that the public actors who are relevant for the proposed actions are consulted on the design and implementation of the proposed actions, as to ensure that they will derive the maximum benefit of the actions therein proposed. These actors are in particular child protection agencies, ministries/authorities for children or social affairs; social protection; children’s ombudspersons; social services responsible for: housing, labour market integration, higher education and vocational training; health and mental health; counselling and psychosocial support; caregivers' associations, civil society organisations; academia, etc.
Proposals should focus on contributing to the achievement of the following outcomes:
Further considerations applicable to this topic
Proposals should demonstrate adequate design of the monitoring and evaluation component in the project implementation phase. Proposals should present methodologies and metrics that are appropriate for measuring progress of the actions, which should involve quantitative and qualitative indicators.
For the benefit of design, implementation and dissemination of the results the project, proposals are recommended to include in the consortium relevant partners from the national, regional and local levels.
Proposals should build upon the results of previously funded projects where relevant, such as in particular: