15 June 2023

Reintegration of children affected by armed conflict in Syria to Western Europe

The repatriation of European children and families from camps and detention facilities in Northern Syria and Iraq has been the topic of an ongoing and urgent debate. Yet, there has been relatively little documentation of the experiences of these children and social workers in the context of Western Europe.  To better understand the reintegration of children from Syria and Iraq to Western Europe and take stock of the experiences and practices around returns that have taken place in recent years, in 2020 UNICEF began gathering data and documenting the experiences of frontline workers supporting reintegration in Western European countries. This included informant interviews with social workers who were providing direct support to children returning to countries including Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom – which accounted for around 87 per cent of the overall number of European children who were identified in camps in North-East Syria in 2020. Jointly, the front-line professionals have supported almost 250 child returnees in child protection systems that share common frameworks, comparable resources, and a number of similar social and cultural dynamics. This paper provides an aggregate picture of reintegration practices, experiences and lessons in the context of Western Europe. It lays the foundation for a dialogue among social workers, mental health and psychosocial support service providers, and other front-line actors about the progress, lessons learned, and challenges to date.
01 December 2021

Deep Dive into the European Child Guarantee – Germany

The European Commission has partnered with the UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia (UNICEF ECARO) to test how the European Child Guarantee could work in practice and provide recommendations for its successful design and implementation. As part of this engagement, UNICEF ECARO has been working since July 2020 with national and local governments from seven EU Member States (Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, and Spain) and key national and local stakeholders in these countries. Part of this support has included the development of 'policy deep dive' country studies. The deep dives are designed to provide the information and evidence base that governments need to develop evidence-based European Child Guarantee National Action Plans. Deep dives analyze policies, services, budgets, and mechanisms addressing barriers to access for children’s services and unmet needs in the key areas of the European Child Guarantee: early childhood education and care, education, health, nutrition, and housing.  This report represents a deep dive into interventions in Germany addressing child poverty and social exclusion in response to the objectives of the European Child Guarantee. This report describes policies, programmes and mechanisms to ensure the access of children in need, and thus gives an overview of existing policies and legislation. The report also includes a compilation of evidence-based practices proven to be effective in ensuring the access of children in need to relevant services. An Annex with a complete list of policy initiatives can be found here.