Alternative Care Training
Asylum Migration and Integration Fund
January 2020 – December 2021



Between 2014 and 2017, some 219,575 so-called unaccompanied children aged between 15 and 18 came to the EU and Norway, seeking asylum.
These children risk violence, physical and sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking, with many arriving burdened and traumatised. The vast majority are placed in institutional reception centres. But experts agree that alternative care options like foster care are more beneficial to these children’s development, while also being more cost effective.

Italy has become the main entry point for unaccompanied children, with 45,000 children arriving by sea during the first nine months of 2018 alone. 11,170 unaccompanied children arrived in Spain during the same time period. Bulgaria, meanwhile, is an entry country for those travelling from Turkey. It is used as a transit country for many migrants and refugees wanting to reach Western Europe. In 2017, 440 unaccompanied children applied for asylum in Bulgaria, a significant decrease from 2,772 in 2016.

The Alternative Care Training or ACT project has set out to improve reception in alternative care arrangements being used for unaccompanied children (uac) aged 15-18 (in connection with guardianship), with a special focus on Bulgaria, Italy and Spain, the most popular entry points. More specifically, the project will provide tools for the training of professionals and practitioners in providing entrance to these arrangements to the target group. With the wide range of training on offer, the project will increase the skills of both guardians and care workers in the alternative care sphere. Finally, and most importantly, these measures are expected to help the children integrate more successfully into their new countries.


  • Analysis & Situation reports
    The project team looked at access to and the quality of alternative care in the target countries of Bulgaria, Italy and Spain. Stakeholder meetings were held to consult with key stakeholders and gather their views and input. Combined with desk research, this in-depth analysis culminated in situation reports on the current state of play in each country. It was completed with a seperate recommendation report containing recommendations for all participating countries and. Although not being a target country in the project, Nidos has also conducted the analysis for the Netherlands resulting in a similar report.
    Draft versions of the situation reports and recommendation reports to be found at the bottom of this page, definitive versions to follow.
  • Training
    A specialist training on both improving access for unaccompanied children to alternative care and boosting the quality of these services was lacking across the EU. TTailor made training of trainer (T-o-T) courses were developed under the ACT project for specialist staff in the three target countries. The analysis mentioned above and an expert meeting served as input for the development of the training. The expert meeting facilitated a discussion among experts from project partners as well as other European experts.
    The T-o-T’s have been conducted in May and June 2021. The T-o-T programmes will soon be shared on this website.
  • International training
    An international training is currently being developed and will be offered to professionals from other Member States. The the train-the-trainer and the national trainings will be offered to local and regional youth care organisations and other specialised national bodies.
  • Study visit
    A study visit to the Netherlands for project partners will be held in September 2021.

Contact details
Gerrit Tigelaar, Policy Officer European Cooperation
Phone: +31 (0) 6 57546987