Project: The project ‘’Development of Emergency Accommodation facilities for Unaccompanied Children’’ is implemented by the International Organization for Migration - Mission in Greece in cooperation with the Special Secretariat for the Protection of Unaccompanied Minors of the Ministry of Migration and Asylum. The project is funded by the Ministry of Migration and Asylum from the donation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark in the framework of the Action of Development Engagement “Support to unaccompanied refugee and migrant children in the Hellenic Republic”.

Duration: 12 months (December 1st, 2021- November 31st, 2022)

Implementing Actors: The Special Secretariat for the Protection of Unaccompanied Minors and The International Organization for Migration – Mission in Greece.

Additional Partnerships: In the framework of the Emergency Response Mechanism, for the operation of the Emergency Accommodation Centers in Athens and Thessaloniki, strong cooperation will be established further with UNHCR and implementing partners.

On the initiative of the Special Secretariat for the Protection of Unaccompanied Minors, the measure of protective custody for Unaccompanied Minors (UAMs) identified in the Greek territory in precarious living conditions has been abolished by law and for the operational enforcement the National Emergency Response Mechanism for Unaccompanied Minors in precarious living conditions has been established, to safeguard children’s rights and ensure that they receive support in accordance with their best interests. The launch of the aforementioned National Mechanism was a joint initiative of the Special Secretary for the Protection of the Unaccompanied Minors in Greece (SSUAM) in cooperation with UNHCR, IOM and local Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) (i.e. ARSIS, METAdrasi, Network for Children's Rights (NRC)). It also constitutes the first organized attempt to develop an effective mechanism for the identification and registration of UAMs, who were previously out of the national protection framework and their immediate placement into safe environments receiving a wide array of quality services.

This mechanism serves as an appropriate immediate response protection and care mechanism for children living in precarious conditions, guaranteeing that a holistic reception system is in place for the unaccompanied children in Greece. As part of it, IOM is envisaged to support by: a) setting-up child-appropriate emergency accommodation places in the mainland by establishing Emergency Accommodation Centers, b) supporting the daily case management in the Emergency Accommodation Centers with qualified staff and providing the necessary support to minors, and c) facilitating the conduction of the medical examinations required for children’s further transfer and placement to other care arrangements.

Description of the Activities

IOM will be responsible for establishing and operating up to 200 places in Emergency Accommodation Centers on the mainland and will capitalize on its years of experience in providing safe and dignified accommodation to UMC and other vulnerable migrant groups in Greece, ensuring a quick and efficient roll-out of the respective activity and its implementation in accordance with children’s best interest. 

1.1 Set-up of the Emergency Accommodation Centers

The Emergency Accommodation Centers will be established by IOM under the overall coordination of the SSPUAM either in private buildings, which will be selected through IOM relevant procedures, or in public buildings indicated by relevant authorities. As per the national guidelines, it is envisaged that five (5) emergency accommodation centers will become operational with a total capacity of 200 places.

1.2 Supporting the daily case management

The Emergency Accommodation Centers will provide a safe and protective environment, where a multi-disciplinary team of IOM professionals will assess UAMs’ profile and vulnerabilities and refer them to the appropriate care arrangement model. Quality of assistance and the well-being and safety of the children during this period, will be ensured.

1.3 Facilitating the conduction of the medical examinations

During UAMs’ stay in the Centers, IOM will support with organizing any necessary medical exams that are required for their entry to the facilities and their eventual referral to any other accommodation scheme (e.g. TB diagnosis), as well as with monitoring beneficiaries’ physical well-being, especially considering that many UAMs are often assessed with significant medical conditions. To this end, IOM health professionals (doctors, nurses) will be present in the Centers to provide primary healthcare services (including health assessments) and pharmaceutical products/medicine