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Core Standards for guardians
of separated children in Europe


Guardians of separated children in Europe pressured - Implementation of the Core Standards for guardians in practice, policy and legislation

4 April 2014

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Guardians of separated children in Europe feel they have to work under pressure. In country assessments from nine EU Member States they speak about the challenges they face to implement the ten Core Standards for Guardians of Separated Children. According to separated children the personal relationship with their guardian is essential. It is key not to break confidentiality and to take time. The children provide suggestions to guardians and authorities to implement the Core Standards in their country.


Do not say 'you can trust me'
There are approximately 100.000 separated children in Europe. Separated children have the right to a guardian who protects their rights and best interests. The type of protection and care a separated child receives from a guardian depends upon the country which the separated child has (often randomly) entered. From nine country assessments it occurs that guardians need to be resilient  youth protectors in order to defend the best interests of the child. Migration law seems to be in conflict with the best interests of the child and guardians in some countries feel pressured by authorities to provide confidential information in order to facilitate the return of the child to the country of origin. According to separated children it is key for guardians not to break confidentiality unless it is in the best interest of the child. Guardians should not say to the child 'you can trust me' but take time to build a bond with the child. Despite the obstacles a variety of promising practices are mentioned by guardians and separated children in Europe to implement the Core Standards for guardians. The need to exchange practices with colleagues in Europe was expressed by guardians in all researched countries.


Core Standards for guardians summarized by separated children
During workshops with separated children in nine EU Member States the children were asked to summarize in a couple of words what every Core Standard means to them in practice. According to the children it is all about: being a friend, listen and tell about yourself, take action, stand up for me, take charge, be sure, ask, be honest, kind and understand children. With the implementation of every Core Standard it is essential the guardian takes time. A child summarized the role of the guardian as:
'A guardian is someone who takes care of you from a distance'.


Corestandardsforguardians.com
The country assessments from Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Slovenia and The Netherlands about the implementation of the Core Standards for guardians are now available at: www.corestandardsforguardians.com.  This website also contains practical booklets for guardians, the international report with the Core Standards for guardians, translations and the latest news. But there is more to come; within a couple of months tools for guardians to implement the Core Standards and to advocate for change will be available on the project website.


For more information:
Defence for Children-ECPAT The Netherlands (project coordinator)
info@defenceforchildren.nl
Phone: 0031 71 516 09 80
With reference to Martine Goeman or Carla van Os.
Or use the online form: http://www.corestandardsforguardians.com/p/1/72/contact.


Background: development Core Standards for guardians
In December 2009 the first 'Closing a protection gap for separated children in Europe' project started, financed by the EU Daphne III Programme, as a response to the differences in the level of protection separated children receive in European countries. The project aimes to harmonize the protection separated children receive from their guardian by focusing on the qualifications of the guardian. The Core Standards and indicators for guardians of separated children in Europe are based on the views expressed by 127 separated and former separated children, 68 guardians and 39 other experts (for instance foster parents, lawyers, social workers). They have been developed to inform, guide and influence parties involved in guardianship for separated children. From December 2012 until December 2014 nine project partners work on the implementation of the Core Standards for guardians of separated children on national and European level. 



With financial support from the EU  Daphne III Programme


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Closing a Protection Gap - coordinated by Defence for Children The Netherlands - PO BOX 11103 - 2301 EC - Leiden - www.defenceforchildren.nl