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“Beyond Survival. Improving intervention in Europe with Unaccompanied and Separated Migrant Children who fall through the protection system”, by F. Javier Romeo and Pepa Horno for UNICEF

[Click here to read the Spanish version].

Unaccompanied and Separated Migrant Children face multiple difficulties. As children, they are seldom listened to. As migrants, they are considered as “with less rights”. As children without affective referents, they face defencelessness from the official institutions that should protect them. And as children that fall through the protection system and that can sometimes resort to any way of living in order to survive, they are often the target of hate speech and dehumanizing narratives. However, we need to remember that they are children who have suffered severe experiences and who deserve safe interventions that ensure their human rights.

As a contribution for the consolidation of sound interventions and respectful narratives, we are proud to present this document that we have elaborated from Espirales Consultoría de Infancia:

Although we, F. Javier Romeo and Pepa Horno are its authors, this publication tries to summarize all the findings of the International Workshop held in Madrid in December 2019, that Javier co-facilitated. We had the inputs of experts from Spain, France, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden in Europe and Morocco in Africa. We also counted with the coordination from UNICEF Spain and UNICEF France, with the support of the UNICEF PFP Division. We are grateful to all their sharings, their knowledge and their experience. We hope that the document will be able to honour their generousity and their commitment.

We have created this text with three goals in mind. They are addressed in each of the chapters:

  1. Having clarity about the “Key principles and risks faced by unaccompanied and separated children living in the street.”
  2. Envisioning a “Call for action: towards an integrative model of intervention for the care and protection of unaccompanied children in the street,” exploring four levels of intervention (addressing documentation and legal aspects; ensuring safe and protective environments; providing affective references; and building new narratives with and about unaccompanied migrant children living in the streets).
  3. Providing inspiration with “Selected positive practice,” a collection of specific programmes and interventions that have worked for each of the levels proposed in Chapter 2.

We hope that this document will help professionals and activists to develop new narratives and more integrated interventions. Those narratives will ensure that these children have full access to all their rights, as the title goes, beyond survival.

F. Javier Romeo and Pepa Horno


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19 October, 2020

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