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Child protection for refugees in mainland Greece

2021-04-05

Refugee and asylum-seeking children and families in Greece face multiple challenges such as unsafe living conditions and limited access to services and education. Together with DRC Greece and IOM Greece, Terre des hommes (Tdh) improves the protective environment of families in eights camps in mainland Greece.

Our key results in 2020:

  • 2312 children and caregivers benefitted from our case management services
  • 537 children and caregivers received psychosocial support
  • 1015 children and caregivers benefitted from our legal aid services

Migrant families with children face limited access to protection and to basic rights such as education. Many live under unsafe conditions whereas a significant number lack access to legal aid. Exit from protection services imposed to families whose asylum request has been granted has also increased their chances to experience homelessness. During the pandemic, the migrant population has suffered disproportionate restrictions without additional protective measures.

Tdh aims to ensure a protective environment and enhance the resilience of children, their caregivers, and co-dependents. In cooperation with DRC Greece and IOM Greece, we provide child protection services for refugees in mainland Greece in the context of the "Supporting the Greek Authorities in Managing the National Reception System for Asylum Seekers and Vulnerable Migrants" project.

Ensuring comprehensive case management

We deal with complex child protection cases such as abuse and unaccompanied minors, by developing tailored action plans to help children, providing accompaniments, and making referrals to numerous services. Services addressing basic needs, shelter, legal counselling and support, family tracing and reunification, social protection, healthcare, and psychosocial support are provided either directly by Tdh or other organisations that we collaborate with through a specific referral system.

In 2020, 2312 children and caregivers benefitted from case management services. At the same time, 537 children with their caregivers and co-dependents received targeted personal assistance to cover individual and specific needs.

"I haven't had any financial help for my autistic child since we left Syria. Terre des hommes has been very supportive. It helped us find a psychiatrist and examine the child, as well as get access to a hospital, to do medical examinations. Tdh helps us even with food…", said Marwa, mother of three children, residing in the Skaramangas camp.

Providing legal assistance

Our local teams provide legal counselling and legal aid to undocumented persons, asylum seekers, recognised refugees, and holders of subsidiary protection. We advise on and handle cases of asylum, family reunification, relocation, domestic and gender-based violence, divorce and custody, and other civil, administrative and penal law cases. In addition to providing legal information and guidance, our lawyers can proceed with legal actions and represent beneficiaries before competent authorities such as the Asylum Service, the Courts, the Police and Public Prosecutor. We also support refugee families with accompaniment, transportation, and interpretation/translation services.

In 2020, 1015 children, caregivers, and co-dependents benefitted from our legal aid services, whereas 265 children, caregivers, and co-dependents benefitted from legal counselling.

Improving refugees’ resilience and psychosocial wellbeing

Refugee children and families often suffer psychological distress. To help them build resilience, we offer focused and preventative psychosocial support at individual level, including cognitive behavioural therapy with a humanistic, person-cantered approach. At group level, we focus on education and raise awareness about mental health-related issues. We also implement Problem Management Plus (PM+) - a psychological intervention for low resource settings. It was designed by WHO and has proved to reduce depression and anxiety among young people and improve their functioning. In 2020, 357 children, youth, caregivers, and co-dependents received focused psychosocial support services.

Building the capacity of professionals

To ensure high quality of services, we organise training sessions to build professionals’ capacity on child safeguarding and protection. On our innovative ChildHub platform, we provide continuous education through webinars and online courses, tools and guidance, latest research and publications. Throughout 2020, 112 frontline workers from other organisations were trained in child safeguarding and child protection topics.

You may read more here.

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Project duration: January 2020 – June 2021

Partners: DRC Greece, IOM Greece

Budget: 934,110 EUR

The project is funded by the European Union through the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (DG HOME).