Supporting unaccompanied and separated children and youth in Greece

Supporting unaccompanied and separated children and youth in Greece

In a collaborative effort, the European Programme for Integration and Migration (EPIM) and eleven other European Foundations, including the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the Bodossaki Foundation and the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation are dedicating a funding programme to the particularly urgent situation of unaccompanied and separated children and youth in Greece. The programme is part of the Europe-wide initiative “Never Alone –Building our future with children and youth arriving in Europe”.


Greece is confronted with the challenges of not only being a key country of arrival and transit but also now a country of destination in Europe. This challenge becomes explicit when looking at the situation of unaccompanied and separated children in the country: according to EKKA (National Center for Social Solidarity), only in early 2016, 1,947 unaccompanied and separated children have arrived in Greece and there are currently about 671 of them in Greece without a shelter, 55% under the age of 14. Moreover, services such as guardianship, psychological care, language training and street work are only provided by civil society organisations who are constrained to maintain or expand their activities due to a lack of funding. Civil society organisations expect that there are even more than the officially registered cases mentioned above of children and youth who are living in non-official camps and on the streets of Athens, Thessaloniki and other locations in Greece. This is putting them in danger, increasing their vulnerability and delaying their integration into European society.

In 2016-2017, responding to the needs in Greece, the EPIM fund has supported civil society organisations in:

  • IDENTIFICATION: Build safe structures and networks at the first points of arrival and strengthen mechanisms for identification in registration centres and main cities of transit.
  • PROTECTION: Provide alternatives to detention with the support of sustainable transit structures. Foster individualised support and protection with the scaling up and improvement of the guardianship system for children and youth transiting through and/or establishing their life in Greece.
  • AWARENESS-RAISING: Raise awareness of the issues concerning unaccompanied and separated children and youth to avoid misinterpretation and increase the attention given to such children and youth.

Three projects were supported with funds totalling 450,000 EUR in the years 2016-2017:

“Responding to the needs of female unaccompanied and separated children and youth in a dynamic environment with a holistic model of intervention”Led by PRAKSIS

“Following their Footsteps”Led by Faros

“Strengthening the Protection Network: A project on guardianship for unaccompanied and separated children”Led by METAdrasi