The Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly stipulates the obligation of the state to establish a system of guardianship and support for caregivers, as well as the legal representation of children, when necessary. Although custody practice is a key guarantor of the best interest of a child deprived of parental care, various documents point to differences in the implementation of the custodial concept, as well as to the weakness of the guardianship system at the EU level. There are no clear standards for the provision of guardianship protection in Serbia, nor is there an effective mechanism for training, support and control of the work of caregivers.
In order to improve the child care system for refugee children in the Republic of Serbia and implement international guidelines in accordance with national legislation, the IDEAS Center (Center for Research and Society Development), with the support and in cooperation with UNHCR in the framework of the project "Strengthening child protection and inclusion of refugee children in Serbia", during 2017, worked on the development of training, supervision, procedures for appointing caregiver to refugee children and standardizing the work of the guardian. As a result of this work, this handbook has been created. This project is supported by the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans’ and Social Affairs in an attempt to improve the system of protection of unaccompanied children of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants located in the territory of the Republic of Serbia. It is important to point out that the Ministry is making efforts to improve the current complex situation of unaccompanied children, among other things through the implementation of this pilot project.
The handbook is intended for caregivers, professional workers of centers for social work, workers engaged in child protection and response to migration, as well as journalists and reporters on refugee children. The idea for creating this handbook, as a supplement to its longer versions, was to transfer the basic concepts of guardianship of refugee children in Serbia in a simple and easily understandable way to all of the them who are involved in children's protection, and provide a brief reminder to the guardians. In order to get to know their future responsibilities and work, this manual can be used by people who are interested in guardianship.