Unaccompanied and separated children when arriving to Europe are entitled to special protection and care. The reality is that many children are still held in detention, left on the streets or caught in smuggling or criminal trafficking networks, because the State authorities are not able to provide them with specialised care and accommodation.
The Parliamentary Assembly recalls its Parliamentary Campaign to End Immigration Detention of Children (2016-2019), as well as Resolution 2020 (2014) on alternatives to immigration detention of children, in which it encourages the member States to “adopt alternatives to detention that meet the best interests of the child and allow children to remain with their family members and/or guardians in non-custodial, community-based contexts while their immigration status is being resolved.”
Alternative care, which can be the placement of a child in a community centre or with a foster family, represent alternatives to detention which should help to ensure the safeguarding of the best interests of the child.
The Assembly considers that the Council of Europe should promote alternative care for unaccompanied and separated migrant children, giving priority to family and community-based care, as the best type of protection for children. It also believes that the creation of a European network of foster families could facilitate a better response to the situation of migrant children in need of urgent protection. The Council of Europe could also develop human rights-based training courses for professionals and families involved in alternative care for unaccompanied and separated children.