Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachi on Monday announced that the government is increasing the number of places for the accommodation of unaccompanied minors, aiming to have 2,000 by the end of spring and 4,000 by the end of the year. It will also boost processes for verifying juveniles in the new asylum bill to be tabled in parliament in the coming days.
Mitarachi made the announcement during the opening of the workshop for unaccompanied minors organised by the ministry’s Reception and Identification Service.
According to the minister, there were 1,000 long-term accommodation places for unaccompanied minors when the government took over in 2019, but “there was a complete lack of child protection and or a national action plan for unaccompanied minors.” Within a few months, the ministry has increased the number of places to 1,400, with the goal of reaching 2,000 by the end of spring and 4,000 by the end of the year. He described this goal as “difficult and one where “we need the support of all society” as well as “the practical support of our European partners.”
The ministry’s planning includes three pillars of action: alternative forms of reception, such as foster care, for children under 12, long-term hospitality structures for the 12-16 age group, and semi-independent living for children over 16 until they become adults.