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Improving the reception and care of unaccompanied minors

Tuesday 22 November 2022

Caritas Luxembourg has just opened a new home for unaccompanied minors and has published a position paper with its demands and proposals to improve the reception and care of these young people who are above all children in need of protection.

On 22 November, Caritas Luxembourg presented to the press the new home for unaccompanied minors that it has just opened in Liefrange as an emergency response to the large number of unaccompanied minors arriving in Luxembourg. Since the beginning of the year, the number of minors arriving alone in Luxembourg has increased significantly. For Caritas Luxembourg, it is important that these children are not left in the emergency accommodation structures for adult applicants for international protection, but are cared for by dedicated staff meeting their specific needs as children.

For the opening of this new home, Caritas Luxembourg was able to build on the very positive experience it had with the Maison Saint Hubert, set up in April 2020 to host 12 unaccompanied minors from Greek refugee camps. The new home in Liefrange has been hosting 12 minors since 15 November. In a second phase, the home will be able to accommodate up to 24 minors and in a third phase 36 minors. A socio-educational team is present 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. At the same time, the capacity of the Maison Saint Hubert in Munshausen was increased from 12 to 18 minors thanks to additional premises nearby.

For Caritas Luxembourg, it is important that the care of unaccompanied minors is urgently reviewed. Without family and cultural references, these young people risk falling through the cracks of the child protection system.

In order to improve the reception of unaccompanied minors, Caritas Luxembourg believes that it is necessary:

  • to increase the number of specialised and adapted accommodation structures for unaccompanied minors;to have the same care for unaccompanied minors as for other minors on Luxembourg territory by placing them under the protection of the Office National de l'Enfance and by giving them a specific legal status;
  • to have an ad hoc administrator present from the first meeting of the minor with the immigration directorate;
  • that the young person be treated as a minor until proven otherwise;
  • to have additional medical and paramedical staff, such as nurses, psychologists and psychiatrists;
  • to develop concepts for a better treatment of victims of violence, especially sexual violence;
  • to have alternatives to the administrative detention of children in migration situations;to have financial support for family reunification;to set up transitional structures and programmes for young people aged between 18 and 27.

All the demands and proposals of Caritas Luxembourg to improve the care of unaccompanied minors are gathered in the dedicated position paper, which can be downloaded below.

To conclude, Caritas Luxembourg recalls that, whatever the circumstances of their arrival in Luxembourg, unaccompanied minors are victims and remain children to be protected absolutely!

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