Each month FRA has published reports looking at the fundamental rights situation of people arriving in seven Member States, particularly affected by large migration movements. One particular area of concern has been child protection where FRA has identified a number of challenges which need addressing. These include:
- Identifying children at risk - the lack of clear guidance, limited qualified staff, and time pressure due to the gaps in identification and registration procedures which all contribute to difficulties in identifying children at risk which should take place immediately once they are initially registered. Uncertainly about age may also lead to some children being treated as adults.
- Guardianship - although guardians must be appointed promptly for all unaccompanied children, there is limited availability of qualified and independent guardians. Interpretation and translation can also pose a challenge for communicating between guardians and children.
- Reception facilities –initial reception facilities are often inadequate for unaccompanied children and families. This puts such children at greater risk of absconding, exploitation, violence and abuse.
- Child disappearances – often there are no effective measures in place to deal with preventing or handling child disappearances despite the high rates of missing children from initial reception areas.
- Family reunification –delays in registering asylum claims and providing access to international protection leads to challenges for family reunification.
- Detention – children should not be detained when it comes to migration. However, this often occurs even without any specific safeguards and in conditions that are not in line with child rights.
The countries covered by the reports are: Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Sweden. FRA is continuing to collect data of the situation is these countries and is carrying out research into migrant children in administrative detention.