The European Agenda on Migration (1) has underlined the importance of a clear system for the reception of applicants for international protection as part of a strong common European asylum policy. Specifically, it refers to the need for further guidance to improve the standards on reception conditions across MS.
The arrival of vulnerable migrants to the EU, and in particular of children, including unaccompanied children, significantly challenges national systems and administrations, including child protection systems. These systems have increasingly found themselves under pressure when confronted with the need to provide, inter alia, qualified staff to address and provide for special needs, and adequate housing as well as additional resources for education and to prevent children from disappearing.
While the EASO Guidance on reception conditions: operational standards and indicators (2016) applies to all applicants for international protection, this guidance focuses on aspects regarding the specific reception conditions for unaccompanied children (2) as well as their special needs. Due to their vulnerability, children in migration, and especially unaccompanied children, require specific and appropriate protection. Therefore, the standards and indicators laid down in this guidance address the specific needs of unaccompanied children (3). Nonetheless, the standards and indicators spelled out in this guidance may also be applicable for accompanied children e.g. on the identification of special reception needs of children, on healthcare, on education as well as on leisure and group activities. To some extent, reception needs of accompanied children are also addressed by the aforementioned EASO Guidance on reception conditions (2016).
The overall objective of this guidance is to support EU+ States in the implementation of key provisions of the RCD while ensuring an adequate standard of living for unaccompanied children that takes into account their special reception needs.