Almost 200,000 unaccompanied migrant children sought asylum in Europe since the surge in arrivals of refugees and migrants in 2015. Fostering Across Borders (FAB) aims to improve and expand the quality of family-based care for unaccompanied migrant children in six EU Member States: Austria, Belgium, Greece, Luxembourg, Poland and the United Kingdom. Foster carers are being trained on and supported to address challenges and vulnerabilities these children may face.
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights recognised that family-based care is better than large-scale residences to provide a nurturing environment and address children individual needs. At the same time, training for professionals remains a high priority to provide the highest standards of care and protection, as the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights highlights.
The report also found that fewer children go missing from foster care compared to reception centres and institutions. Nonetheless, the majority of the unaccompanied migrant children in Europe live in large-scale residential care facilities.
Fostering Across Borders (FAB) builds on the manual for professionals and the experience of the Alternative Family Care - ALFACA project, that also produced an e-learning package. The project, which runs from January 2018 to September 2019, is led by IOM United Kingdom and delivered alongside local partners.
The FAB project is funded by the European Commission, DG Justice (European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme, 2014-2020). In Luxembourg, IOM works in partnership with the Luxembourguish Red Cross (Croix-Rouge luxembourgeoise).
For more information on the overall FAB activities, resources, and downloadable materials for all participation countries, please go to the project website on https://eea.iom.int/fostering-across-borders.
Activities in Luxembourg
In Luxembourg, in 2018, a training manual, a training guide and nine supporting handouts were developed for the attention of professionals and family-based care providers fostering UMC. The manual and guide can be found here, as well as the mapping reports of the other implementing countries.
On 21 January 2019, a second inter-stakeholders’ meeting was organized at the Luxembourguish Red Cross premises. The meeting gathered representatives of the Luxembourguish authorities (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Family and Integration and the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Childhood) as well as of the Red Cross, Caritas, and different reception centers. The meeting sought to provide a project update and to present the training tool kit to all stakeholders in an effort to collect their feedback and streamline their input into the concerned output.
The toolkit underwent an adaptation phase throughout February and March and was piloted in April during the Train the Trainer session delivered by IOM staff to social workers within the Luxembourguish Red Cross’ Foster Placement Unit.
A video is also now available, with the aim to promote family-based care for UMC, and hopefully, will help in recruiting new foster carers as well.
On the 10th of September, a closing conference was held in Brussels, during which the participating offices of IOM together with implementing partners and stakeholders shared their experiences, best practices and ways forward.