MCE Menu

Workshops - 11 Avril

1.  Strengthening the resilience of children and young people – How to equip young people to determine the course of their lives?

> Coordinated by SOS Children’s Villages & Eurochild

When children and young people who have fled their countries are not supported in their transition to adulthood and inclusion in society, the consequences are often disastrous. They include dropping out of school, unemployment, poverty, homelessness, isolation, becoming victim of abuse, losing trust in others and hope in the future, and entering a cycle of marginalisation. These consequences are devastating for the individuals affected, a waste of talent for society as a whole and a breeding ground for discrimination and negative attitudes towards migrants. 

The purpose of this workshop is to 1- Put forward recommendations by participants on how to better equip young migrants to cope with difficulties and unlock their potential so that they can determine the course of their lives and find a place in society; and 2- Identify elements that make a difference and proposals to overcome remaining challenges  


Cecilia Bergling Nauclér, SOS Children’s Villages Sweden
Daria Crimella, Fondazione Albero della Vita


Ana Fontal, SOS Children’s Villages
Agata D’Addato, Eurochild



2.  Supporting and protecting children in migration by applying a holistic approach mechanism at the local level


> Coordinated by The Smile of the Child and Minor Ndako

The overall objective of the workshop is to present best practices for the support and protection of refugee and migrant children at the local level in Belgium and in Greece. 

Semma Groenendijk from Minor-Ndako, will present the good practices from the operation model of the Youth Care Facilities and the differences from large scale reception centers. The Smile of the Child will share, from their end, their good practices linked with:

·         The organization’s approach towards children and UAM, the operational model (mix model) of the Community Homes of the Organization: the case of Kavala

·         The operation of the Helplines within the framework of the Center for Direct Social Intervention in the city of Kavala

·         The support to children with health problems within the framework of the Center for Direct Social Intervention in the city of Kavala


Sia Kakaroumba, the Smile of the Child (Greece) Fotini Konstantopoulou, the Smile of the Child (Greece)
Sofoklis Panagiotou, the Smile of the Child (Greece)
Semma Groenendijk, Minor Ndako (Belgium)
Shanna Latrez, Minor-Ndako (Belgium)


Charlotte Verhofstadt, Parliamentary Assistant to Hilde Vautmans at the European Parliament



3.  Lost in Translation: Best practices in communicating with migrant children lead to better outcomes and resilience


> Coordinated by Translators Without Borders

Access to information in a language and manner suitable for children and the availability of trained and impartial language support is a right of children at all stages of their migration journey, and an important procedural safeguard, especially in the context of complex or accelerated asylum procedures. Factors such as language barriers, low literacy levels, and lack of access to technology can impede children’s ability to access assistance and protection and increase their vulnerability to exploitation and abuse. Migrant children might make high-risk choices, including dropping out of the formal reception system, out of ignorance of their rights and options. It is essential that children, especially those considered to be the most vulnerable, receive clear and comprehensive information in a language they understand, and appropriate interpreting support to communicate their needs and situation, from the outset.

The focus of the workshop will be on best practices in communicating with migrant and refugee children for professionals involved in child protection. Building on Translators without Borders’ research efforts and language services provision in Italy, Greece and Turkey, it will include three main parts: (1) improving data on the languages that children speak and understand, as a basis for effective communication strategies; (2) measuring actual comprehension of information and its significance for choosing the most effective languages, formats and channels for listening to and informing migrant children; and (3) harnessing appropriate technology and machine translation for effective communication. Throughout the workshop, emphasis will be on practical language approaches beyond translation, such as communicating in plain language and simplifying technical or legal concepts for multilingual comprehension. The aim will be to highlight best practices that can easily be adopted to realize children’s right to information and to be heard in all decisions that affect their lives.


Rebecca Petras, Deputy Director, Translators without Borders
Kate Murphy, Head Editor, Translators without Borders

4.  Exchanges on good practices and experiences from European Municipalities


> Coordinated by The Partnership on the Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees – the Urban Agenda for the EU

The Partnership on the Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees is one of the 12 Partnerships of the Urban Agenda for the EU.

The goal of this Partnership on Inclusion is to come with actions that lead, from a city perspective, to better EU policies and regulations, better knowledge and better access to EU funding.

The city of Amsterdam is coordinator of this Partnership. The European Commission’s Directorate-General on Home Affairs is co-coordinator. The other members are: the cities of Athens, Berlin, Helsinki, and Barcelona, the Member States Portugal, Italy, Greece and Denmark,  EUROCITIES, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions, the European Council on Refugees and Exiles, URBACT, Migration Policy Group, European Investment Bank, and the European Commission’s  Directorate-General on Regional & Urban Policy and the Directorate-General on Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion.

This partnership established 8 actions which it will undertake in the coming year. One of these actions is related to the position on Unaccompanied Minors in EU cities.

This action will seek to produce Policy-Recommendations on the reform-package of the Common EU Asylum System, from the Urban perspective and with emphasis on Unaccompanied Minors.

In order to generate input for this action, we conducted a series of 15 cases-studies on projects and programmes at local level involving Unaccompanied Minors.

A selection of the city-professionals from those 15 cases will be present in our workshop, and will share their experiences and leasons learned.

We will use their input, and the information on all 15 case-studies, for an interactive workshop with the professionals from the conference, in order to develop ans specify suggesties for better EU policies in the interest of children in migration.

In particular, the workshop will focus on the following challenges:

·         Housing and Reception Conditions

·         Support to migrant children, including education, guardianship psychological care


Jolien de Crom, the city of Antwerp
Isolde De Vogel, the city of Gent.
Wouter Verheij, the city of Rotterdam
Elisabeth Lindholm, the city of Strömsund
Joakim Selén the city of Strömsund


Carlos Mascarell Vilar, Council of European Municipalities and Regions
Mark Boekwijt, the City of Amsterdam
Diletta Zonta, Ecorys

Promising practices that will be discussed with the workshop participants.

  • Mentoring programme for unaccompanied children in private living arrangements, SOS Children’s Villages Sweden

The professional mentoring programme, implemented by SOS Children’s Villages Sweden in the Gothenburg district of Angered in partnership with district authorities, works with unaccompanied and separated children who have residence status and live with relatives or family friends in independent housing arrangements.

The services offered by the mentors include activities to build links with local communities and to cope with the challenges of everyday life, participation in social and cultural events and support in the area of education and work. SOS Children’s Villages works with a strong network of partners to provide education and employment opportunities.

The programme complements the services provided by state and local authorities and helps children and young people to integrate into Swedish society. It works with young people up to the age of 23 as they transition to adulthood.

  • Centre for asylum-seeking families with children in Italy, Fondazione L’Albero della Vita

A centre in Milan run by Fondazione L’Albero della Vita (FADV) provides assistance to families with children seeking asylum in Italy and those eligible for relocation to other EU Member States. It goes beyond accommodation and material support, aiming to provide a foundation for long-term social inclusion. Families living in the centre receive a range of specialised services including psychosocial and pedagogical support, education and healthcare, legal aid and employment counselling.

The project aims to respond to the individual needs of the families and to equip them with the tools to become self-sufficient by ensuring their participation in the preparation of family plans.

FADV operates in strict collaboration with the contractors – the Municipality of Milan and the Prefecture of Milan – and works with CSOs, local school and social services for implementing specific project activities.  The project also implements activities to raise awareness and engage volunteers from the local community.





Workshops - 12 Avril

1.  Best practice model for training child protection professionals on the issue of child trafficking

> Coordinated by ECPAT Belgium, ECPAT France, and ECPAT UK

This workshop will present a best practice model for enhancing the knowledge, skills and confidence of professionals involved in providing services and caring for trafficked and exploited children. Besides sharing learning, it will also aim at generating discussion on the stepts at local level for the prevention of (re)trafficking and exploitation of children. 

It will be based on contribution from three countries:

  1. United Kingdom: ECPAT UK will present its current innovative project, the ground-breaking Partnership Against Child Trafficking Project (PACT), which provides a specialist consultancy service to four UK local authorities in order to improve localised responses to child trafficking. This project responds to established failings around child trafficking at the local level, in particular the shocking levels of trafficked and unaccompanied children going missing from care, and huge gaps and inconsistencies in data collection efforts by local authorities.
  2. Belgium: ECPAT Belgium will focus on the ReACT training modules for guardians that have been developed in collaboration with the Guardianship Service and Caritas International Belgium. The training packages include training courses and workshops focused on participatory methods as well as an e-learning.
  3. France: a French lawyer will share their experience in training students of the Paris Lawyers’s School and lawyers from the « Children Antenna » of the Paris Bar association. In the framework of the ReACT project, they also delivered trainings in different towns in France on the non-prosecution principle for child victims of trafficking for criminal purposes.


Ariane Couvreur ECPAT Belgium
Catherine Delanoë-Daoud, Vareilles-Daoud Avocats Associés
Catherine Baker, ECPAT UK


Marine Braun, Defence for Children Belgium



2.  Supporting mental health needs of refugee and migrant young people


> Coordinated by The Children’s Society

There has been a steady increase in numbers unaccompanied young people arriving in the UK over recent years, with a stark increase of 134% unaccompanied young people being placed in local authority care since 2013.

Statutory models for responding to mental health need in young people sometimes do not identify the full range of issues that refugee and migrant young people might be struggling with. Considering the trauma and difficulties young people face in arriving here and attempting to settle in, mental health and wellbeing of refugee and migrant young people has increasingly become a concern for local authorities, mental health services and other support services, who have been exploring innovative methods for responding to this need.

The workshop will bring together experts in mental health, local government and frontline advocacy services to discuss the ways that they have been responding to mental health needs of young people and developing processes for lasting support: with combined therapy approaches for refugee and migrant young people, inter-agency working between professionals and integrated therapeutic support in frontline services. The experts will discuss the evidence that informs their approach and there will opportunity for delegates to contribute with examples of good practice in their own setting.


Ana Draper, Coram
Lucy Leon, RISE Project
Sally Joseph, Camden local authority Children’s Services


Rupinder Parhar, The Children’s Society

3.  Effective Inclusiveness for Children on the Move: A workshop on youth integration


> Coordinated by Terre des Hommes Greece

Terre des hommes (Tdh) has been working in Northern Greece (Epirus and Thessaloniki) since March 2016. Benefiting from a strong expertise in child on the move protection (member of the Destination Unknown platform and Childhub network for Southeast Europe) Tdh implements together with important local actors an adapted, supportive and comprehensive response to the needs identified for youth on the move in Greece. Owing to gaps in service provision for UASC turning 18, and other vulnerable youth, in 2017, Tdh extended its services and developed additional expertise dealing with children and youth aged 15 – 25 through its skills building enrolment service: In addition to supporting younger children to access formal education, this service supports young people to access educational and skills building opportunities which address their needs and ambitions and support their transition to living independently. To date, 1360 children, youth and young adults in northern Greece have been supported to access formal and non-formal education.

ARSIS works with unaccompanied minors in various contexts, from first screening through street work and visits to police stations for children kept under protective custody searching for durable solutions after their reaching adulthood. The legal counselling provided by ARSIS, as well as the two Centers of Youth Support (KYN) that function in Thessaloniki city, offering various activities not only to unaccompanied minors residing in shelters, but also to homeless unaccompanied minors who are beneficiaries of ARSIS street work service, are as many means to establish effective inclusiveness. The cooperation of the two organizations is established for more than 20 years.

The workshop will aim at sharing experience, focusing on existing good practices, while at the same time addressing the main advocacy agenda issues. Through a multidisciplinary, holistic approach, crucial aspects of the complexity of all relevant issues can be brought into surface in an interactive and vivid way, covering eventually all 6 priorities stated by European Commission, while at the same time focusing mainly on the fifth of them, namely “ensuring durable solutions”.


Melina Spathari, Terre des hommes
Thomas Charalambidis, Destination Unknown campaign
Vivian Kounio, Arsis
Evdokia Kouvara, Metadrasi



4. Promoting access to secure residence status.

> Coordinated by the Platform fo International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM)

Clear status determination procedures that provide children and young people with a secure and long-term residence status are crucial to ensure they fully enjoy all of their rights and to promote their well-being. Regularisations are a common policy tool with numerous benefits for states, individuals and families, and the communities and economies they live in. Almost all EU member states have regularised undocumented residents in the past 22 years, through regularisation mechanisms, programmes, or a combination of both. The workshop will discuss several current regularisation procedures, evaluating key aspects of the procedures in terms of providing effective durable solutions for children, as well as the campaigns and strategies that were used to secure implementation on national and local level.


Frances Trevena, Coram Children’s Legal Centre, UK
Catherine Cosgrave, Immigrant Council of Ireland, Ireland
Silvia Giulini, Generation 2.0, Greece


Lilana Keith, PICUM