Last year, EASO and the Italian Ombudsperson for Children and Adolescents trained more than 170 voluntary guardians for unaccompanied minors. The role of such individuals, introduced by law No 47/2017 on protection measures for unaccompanied minors, and approved by the Italian Parliament in May 2017, is to both assist minor migrants arriving alone in Italy throughout their legal procedures, and also create a personal relationship of mutual trust.
For 2018, a new similar cycle of training sessions for voluntary guardians is foreseen under the current Operating Plan. In February, two different sessions have already been organised. The first one was hosted in the city of L’Aquila, the capital of Abruzzo region, from the 9th to 12th, whereas the other one took place in Campobasso, the capital of Molise region, from the 23rd to the 26th.
A total of 61 voluntary guardian candidates participated in these four-day events and were introduced to the international legal framework on minors’ protection, the Italian reception system and their role and responsibilities.
They also followed some more specific sessions on Family Reunification under the Dublin Regulation, the age assessment procedure, as well as practical workshops, such as one focused on how to refer a victim of human trafficking or suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
After passing a written test, the new aspirant guardians will be nominated by competent judges in specific regional lists and will be ready to provide their assistance to the unaccompanied minors hosted in their regions.