"Enhancing the Level of UASC protection through an effective guardianship system in Sicily": a pilot project to train citizens in Sicily

The Regional Ombudsman for Children of the Sicilia Region, with the technical support of Defence for Children Italia and funding of UNHCR will promote in Sicily a pilot project that aims at contributing to the improvement and the standardization of the guardianship system for unaccompanied minors in Sicily through a region-wide training process. The initiative will be implemented in close cooperation and coordination with the Regional Ombudsman for Children in Sicily, UNHCR and the National Council of Social Workers (CNOAS) as well as with the judicial authority (Ordinary-Juvenile Courts) and the Municipal Ombudsperson in Palermo, consistent with the recently approved law 47/2017 “Measures of protection for unaccompanied migrant children”.

This project is a pilot that aims to provide possible models and good practices for future initiatives related to the implementation of the guardianship provisions under the national law throughout the country, in order to ensure appropriate standardization, complementarity, comparability, and sustainability. Given the significant percentage of unaccompanied children present in Sicily, the experience with this project is expected to produce evidence, methodologies, models and tools that could be replicated in other regions during the current crucial phase of translating the new law into appropriate policies and practices across the Italian territory. The project will further aim to promote the effective implementation of the new law in practice, in compliance with the standards and recommendations on guardianship available from the level of the European Union and internationally, and to orient guardianship practices guided by the best interests of the child, together with the system of principles and provisions under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Enhancing children's rights in criminal proceedings in the EU

MLMR.pngThe right to access (free) legal counsel and representation throughout criminal judicial proceedings is essential to enable children to effectively enjoy and exercise their rights. A good defence plays a major role in the measures taken by the judge and the child’s ability to reintegrate and rehabilitate after the criminal justice proceedings. All the way through a proceeding, the child needs to know how and when to contact the lawyer, what to expect, what to do if this service is not satisfactory, etc.

But even though the right to legal representation for child suspects is recognized, it is unevenly applied by States. Measures taken at the national level are insufficient and the access to a lawyer for children remains a challenge in most European countries.

Promoting children's participation for a positive social reintegration of children deprived of liberty

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This project is the follow up of two EU funded successfully implemented projects: “Children’s rights behind bars – CRBB – Improving monitoring mechanisms” that has produced the first Practical Guide on monitoring places where children are deprived of their liberty, based on 14 national research reports and a strong collaboration with the Council of Europe, in particular its Committee on Prevention of Torture (CPT) and other UN bodies (like the SPT) and "Twelve - Promoting the implementation of Article 12 of the CRC in the juvenile justice system" that has produced a Handbook - “Children’s right to participation and the juvenile justice system - theory & practices for implementation” - based on national reports as well as an European training module aimed at enhancing participation of children in conflict with the law.

Active citizenship, guardians, legal representatives and foster care families for children deprived of parental care

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On December 1st, 2016 the project ELFO "Empowering guardians, Legal representatives and FOster families of children deprived of parental care against violence through child rights" has started.

The reinforcement of parental care of those actors of civil society who undertake parental functions, like for example guardians foster parents and legal representatives, and who act independently and for the best interest of the child could constitute a key element to prevent violence and abuse of children deprived of parental care. Nevertheless, as reported by FRA Agency of European Union, often these subjects do not receive an appropriate, specialized and constant training in most of the European countries.

The project’s general objective is to improve the level and quality of protection of child victims or potential victims of violence by empowering guardians, legal representatives and foster parents of children deprived of parental care within an integrated child protection framework.

 

Training healthcare multidisciplinary teams on children’s rights and on child-friendly justice

CRC formazione specialistica.pngOn November 14th 2015 starts the Project “THEAM – Training healthcare multidisciplinary teams on children’s rights and on child-friendly justice”, co-funded by European Commission Justice/Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme.

The project aims at training key professionals involved in the work with vulnerable children and integrating training on children’s rights and child-friendly justice into regular national training and education curricula for professionals.

In all partner countries, multidisciplinary teams working at local level for the protection of vulnerable children receive training on child protection, prevention and intervention on child maltreatment and children’s rights. From previous research on the topic, however, emerges the need to enhance the specific training on children’s rights, particularly those concerned with children’s participation in decisions affecting them (art. 12 of the UN Convention on Children’s Rights). THEAM aims therefore to train established groups of professionals working in geographical areas of the partner countries with the highest number of vulnerable children.