Child refugees: Portugal prepares plan to take in unaccompanied underage migrants

Ploughing ahead with proactive ideas, Portugal’s social solidarity institutions are meeting in Porto this week to discuss a plan to take-in unaccompanied child migrants.

Talking to Rádio Renascença, Ana Rodrigues of the national confederation of institutes of solidarity (CNIS) has explained that the plan is still being worked on, but is already ‘ready to receive the first children’.

This news follows on from revelations last week that an initiative aimed at sheltering an entire village of 470 Christian Yazidis from Iraq is also at its final stages (click here).

CNIS will be discussing the logistics of a network set up to care for children who arrive in Europe alone and without family on November 3.

It is a reality that is forever growing, explained Rodrigues.

“In Italy, we know more and more of these children are arriving every day. In Greece, we know that the system is so saturated that many of these children remain in detention centres because there is no other way of dealing with them – even less structures in place designed to tackle their reality”.

Rodrigues made no illusion to the issues that have blighted the transfer of so-called child refugees from Calais’ former ‘jungle camp’ – suggesting that in this case at least, Portugal is talking about children, not young adults in their 20s, or even 30s.

“We have a model that is being worked on in partnership with some of the other institutions associated with CNIS that have the possibility to take these minors in”, she told RR. “It is a network that could be in expansion. Right now, we are ready to receive, very soon, the first children”.

Rodrigues added that the first group will be made up of “tens of children, but the number could be increased”.

The plan is designed for “the institutionalisation” of the children, she said – giving no further details on whether the youngers would eventually be ‘fostered out’ or even adopted.

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