When an unaccompanied child enters the European Union, he or she needs a representative taking parental responsibility, who has the mandate to take important decisions for the children in their best interest. Furthermore, this representative takes the responsibility for arranging all basic needs of the children and assisting them in the asylum procedure. Nidos believes that a guardian is the best representative for this arrangement. The guardian is not only made responsible for the child, but is also equipped to take that responsibility in difficult matters such as return, Dublin, family tracing, methodology and the asylum procedure.
A special reference should be made to the publication Guardianship for Children Deprived of Parental Care of the Fundamental Rights Agency as a comprehensive and recent publication. It takes into account previous publications of Nidos, projectpartners and others. It clearly describes the benefits of professional guardianship and thereby serves as a marking point for guardianship in Europe. The January 2019 FRA report Guardianship systems for children deprived of parental care in the European Union and the September 2019 report Returning unaccompanied children: fundamental rights considerations are worth mentioning as well.
Professional guardianship is not the rule in Europe. Guardians are often volunteers, with only their own network, their passion and a few days of training to rely on. While this is already a challenge in the simplest of guardianship cases, it becomes a serious problem in the more difficult ones. Nidos promotes all development towards professional or professionally organised guardianship and increased quality of guardianship. From this principle, more resources, training, access to information and assistance for individual or voluntary guardians is welcomed as well and can be supported. Nidos wants to improve the working standards of guardians and – by doing so – the rights and well-being of unaccompanied children by assisting in the development of guardianship systems, offering back-office support to individual guardians or social workers and exchanging good practices.