The Smile of the Child: Report on safeguarding unaccompanied children from going missing

More than 89,000 unaccompanied children arrived in the European Union in 2015

Greek Eurochild member The Smile of the Child along with a number of children’s organisations released the report ‘Best practices and key challenges on interagency cooperation to safeguard unaccompanied children from going missing’

The report demonstrates that improved training on the prevention and response to child disappearance is needed for those working with the thousands of children who arrive in Europe alone. More than 89,000 unaccompanied children arrived in the European Union in 2015, which represents a dramatic increase from the 23,000 unaccompanied children arriving in 2014.

According to Europol, 10,000 of these children have disappeared within hours of being registered and only a handful have been found since. However, national reports seem to suggest that the number of missing unaccompanied children could be much higher, and that many children go missing before being registered by authorities.

Findings from an in-depth study on the issue were developed in the framework of the project “Safeguarding Unaccompanied Migrant Minors from going Missing by Identifying Best Practices and Training Actors on Interagency Cooperation” (SUMMIT), co-funded by the European Union. The report reflects insights from the actors who deal primarily with the reception of unaccompanied children and those who focus on the disappearance of children. It examines practices in seven EU countries - the UK, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Cyprus, Ireland and Greece.

It serves as a necessary mapping exercise of good practices, along with a manual for grassroots professionals to be published in the next weeks, to promote discussions and expert trainings between these actors across Member States.

In the study, the authors call for improved cooperation between law enforcement, social workers in shelters and reception centres, guardians, hotlines for missing children and other parties to better prevent and respond to the disappearance of unaccompanied children.

SUMMIT Project partners contributed to the publication, in particular the organisations Child Circle, NIDOS (NL), Defence for children-ECPAT (NL), TUSLA (IR) and KMOP (EL).

Please read the full report here

Website The Smile of the Child