Guardianship for unaccompanied minors is organized on a cantonal level. The practice of guardianship can differ from one municipality to the other in the different cantons and authorities, NGOs and private persons can act as a guardian.
Advise for guardians
In case a guardian wants to get in touch with an organization in Switzerland the following is advised. An assessment would need to be carried out by the child protection authority (at a place where a family member of an unaccompanied minor lives, the child protection authorities are organized regionally). If the address of a family member is clear, the identification of the respective authority might be facilitated by SEM, ISS or OSAR. The assessment would need to be carried out – because of the Federal structure of Switzerland- at the cantonal or municipal level.
In case of a transfer the guardian should send the information to the SEM as the asylum application will be dealt with by them. As long as transfers of unaccompanied minors are only carried out to reunite the minor with a family member or relative, there will be no other institution involved as the guardianship will be either replaced by parental care or given to the sibling or relative. In other cases (currently, this is not possible because of the MA judgment of the CJEU) the regional child protection authority would be responsible. In these cases it is advised to contact ISS and/or OSAR prior to the transfer in order to secure a smooth exchange of information.
State Secretariat for Migration (SEM)
Sweizerische Flüchtlingshilfe SFH (OSAR)
Swiss Foundation of the International Social Service (ISS)
9, rue du Valais
Case Postale 1469
1211 Genéve 1