A Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) was signed today between the Greek Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. The aim of the MoC is to enhance collaboration and ensure the inclusion of unaccompanied refugee and asylum seeker children in the national Greek foster care system. It also envisions theinclusion of refugees and migrants as foster care parents of unaccompanied and separated children.
“Through this MoC, we enhance our cooperation with UNHCR and undertake joint activities aiming at the gradual and smooth inclusion of unaccompanied children in the National Foster Care-Adoption System. We continuously develop activities which always aim to support children, taking into account their best interest. We want all children to grow up having equal opportunities and rights in a healthy and safe family environment”, said Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Ms. Domna Maria Michailidou on Tuesday.
As part of the Memorandum of Cooperation, UNHCR and partner METAdrasi will provide support for the training of state professionals who coordinate and supervise foster care. The training package for foster families will also be reviewed to incorporate the needs of unaccompanied and separated children and training will be provided to foster families.
Furthermore, psychosocial support will be ensured for unaccompanied children in foster care, as well as additional support like interpretation and legal support. As part of the new MoC, UNHCR will ensure awareness raising targeting refugee communities and in particular, potential refugee foster parents.
“We are very pleased to sign this MoC today. There are some 2,100 unaccompanied and separated refugee children in Greece. Foster care is an important element of their overall protection and possibly an immediate solution especially for the younger children upon their arrival. Refugee children are children, they have the same basic needs as any child, a caring home, education, safety, health care, and respect. But they may also have specific needs due to their circumstances, which a foster family can assist to alleviate. We hope our close collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs will help to address these needs, through targeted joint actions” said Maria Clara Martin, UNHCR Representative in Greece.
A Task Force will be established to ensure effective coordination and collaboration on all activities. The Task Force will monitor activities, discuss challenges and propose solutions.