EPIM convening workshop and EPIM-supported Missing Children Europe conference

EPIM convening workshop and EPIM-supported Missing Children Europe conference

As part of the “Never Alone –Building our future with children and youth arriving in Europe” sub-fund, EPIM supported the conference “Lost in migration: Working together to protect children from disappearance”, organised by Missing Children Europe and the Maltese President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society on 26-27 January 2017 in Malta. 160 participants from all over Europe discussed the challenges for the protection of children and together came up with operational and policy recommendations which have been sent to EU ministers. The conference was coinciding with the informal Justice and Home Affairs Council taking place that week in Malta, which was attended by the President of Malta and Missing Children Europe who brought the protection challenges and the rights of children to the attention of the ministers.

The event featured high level speakers, including H.E. Maria Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta; Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and President of Missing Children Europe; Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship; and many other policy makers, civil society and inter-governemental organisations representatives. Children and young people also engaged in the conference.

EPIM grantee organisations from the sub-fund actively participated in the conference and organised the “Living Library” and the workshop session. During the Living Library “Children and youth on the move: the long road to protection”, frontline practitioners from Germany, Greece, Italy and Belgium invited the participants on an interactive thematic walk through some of the stages children and youth go through on their journey in Europe: “Arrival: identification and reception conditions”, “On the move: protection across states and effective guardianship systems” and “Inclusion and participation in society: reaching adulthood, emancipation and empowerment”. Through interactive discussions, the civil society representatives talked about their work, the specific challenges and opportunities children face in their country and brought into the discussion the voice of the children they work with.

In the EPIM workshop entitled “The role of quality care in encouraging children and youth on the move in Europe to seek support in protected spaces”, representatives from civil society organisations in Belgium, Germany, Greece and Italy who work with children discussed the practices they have adopted in pursuit of providing quality care to the children and ensuring that this resonates with the child’s mandate for his/her journey to Europe. Besides gaining insight into those practices, how these are tailored to the (shifting) profile of the child, the dilemmas that practitioners have – and continue to face – in this respect, workshop participants have exchanged on the transferable lessons that can be drawn for other Member States and the EU as a supportive environment. You will find here the conclusions and recommendations of the workshop.

Before the conference, EPIM organised a convening workshop which aimed to bring together all grantee organisations and funders of this sub-fund for the first time to get to know each other and the funded projects across European countries. The 40 participants from the focus countries Greece, Italy, Germany and Belgium engaged in ice breaker activities, role play scenarios and interactive discussions with a lot of space to exchange on challenges and learnings from their work, their objectives for the conference “Lost in Migration” and identify future opportunities to collaborate.