News Item

Innovative Italian legislation updates approach to guardianship

The Agency, together with the Italian Independent Authority for Children and Adolescents, has prepared a note summarising the main changes relating to guardianship for unaccompanied children in Italy.

The note (both in Italian and English) looks into the implementation of Italian law on protective measures for unaccompanied children in Italy. The law entered into force in May 2017. It regulates all aspects of protecting foreign unaccompanied children in Italy. For the first time in Italy, but also in the EU, a general legislative measure has been used for protecting unaccompanied migrant children. In particular, it allows youth courts to create lists of volunteer guardians for unaccompanied children.

This approach could become a promising practice in the EU. It establishes a flexible guardianship system that can respond to changing needs, is less costly than a system based on professional guardians and, more importantly, actively involves society in the destination country.

However, there are potential risks, particularly related to managing, supporting and overseeing a high number of people who may decide to become volunteer guardians.

For the first phase of selection and training of volunteer guardians in the regions under its responsibility, the Italian Independent Authority for Children and Adolescents received support from the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) as well as other actors. These included organisations with expertise on children in migration, including FRA.

The note updates the FRA’s 2015 guardianship report which outlines the key features of guardianship systems.