In a new position paper on refugee and migrant children, SOS Children’s Villages has outlined recommendations for states to ensure that children’s right to quality care is protected, no matter their migration status.

“Half of all refugees are children. When discussing how our societies should respond to the displacement of people fleeing their homes, we should never forget it is children that we are talking about,” said SOS Children’s Villages’ Head of Global Advocacy, Kélig Puyet to the ECRE Weekly Bulletin. “All children have a right to quality care. Under no circumstance should a child end up alone, on the street, in detention, without access to education or any other inhumane condition, regardless of whether they have crossed an international border.”

SOS Children’s Villages calls for the prevention of unnecessary family separation of refugee and migrant children, the provision of quality family and community-based care to unaccompanied and separated children, the appointment of guardians to unaccompanied children, and the removal of barriers to family reunification.

SOS Children’s Villages urges authorities to put an end to the administrative detention of children and shows in examples of their work that there are alternatives. In Mexico, SOS Children’s Villages is caring for unaccompanied children who have been detained by the Mexican authorities. SOS Children’s Villages underlines that when the children arrived at the SOS programme after having been in detention, they were suffering from anxiety and post-traumatic stress and SOS co-workers had to immediately start focusing on their psychological recovery.

Furthermore the paper includes information on the organisation’s work with migrant and refugee children in Austria, Finland and the Western Balkan route. SOS Children’s Villages is operational in countries of origin, countries of first refuge and transit and countries where refugees and migrants are finding new homes. The organisations helps families to stay together, provides humanitarian aid, counselling, child friendly spaces for children and families, language courses and educational and vocational opportunities, as well as a range of family-based care for children.