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9 March 2016
In February 2016, a report entitled "Best practices and key challenges on interagency cooperation to safeguard unaccompanied children from going missing" has been published. The report is a result of the SUMMIT project. The aim of the research conducted for this project was to identify good practices and key challenges in inter-agency cooperation in the prevention of, and response to, vulnerable separated children going missing from reception centres and other types of care. Defence for Children The Netherlands has been an advisor for this project.
Europol reported that 10,000 separated children went missing after arriving in Europe, with many feared to be exploited and abused for sexual or labour purposes. Protecting these children is a shared responsibility of all European Member States at the level of law enforcement authorities, guardians, reception centres, hotline professionals and more.
The report shows that improved training on the prevention of, and response to, child disappearance is needed for those working with separated children in Europe. The report serves as a necessary mapping exercise of good practices and calls for improved cooperation between different actors working with separated children to better prevent and respond to the disappearance of separated children. Besides the report, a manual with for grassroots professionals will be published in the next weeks.
Lack of durable solutions
In the past, Defence for Children The Netherlands stated (news item in Dutch) that a reason for these disappearances of separated children lies in the fact that there are no durable solutions in place to prevent children from leaving after or without registration.
Please find the full report here.