Situational Analysis of Children on the Move in Poland

Regarding international and national migrant children in foster care


Date of publication:  01 Jun 2014 Publisher:  Nobody's Children Foundation Publication type:  Report / Study / Data

The research was conducted as part of the Mario Project: Joint action to protect children on the move in Europe. The main goal was to assess the situation of children on the move within the context of the child protection system in Poland. The report is based on a desk research and qualitative methods according to “Mario Methodological Guidelines”. In Poland there is no clear definition of who “children on the move” are. For the purposes of the project two groups of children were considered to be “on the move”: foreign migrant minors and Polish children who ran away. There is no centralized child protection system in Poland, so researchers have chosen to focus on institutional care: the most centralized system concerning children. Child care homes (termed ‘foster care system’ in the research) cooperates with other institutions, such as social services, police, prosecutors and the judiciary. The first two chapters set out the general framework of the research and provide an overview of the legal and institutional background that impacts or is applicable to children on the move. The third one addresses the particular characteristics of children in foster care. The analysis shows that the institutional care system in Poland is maladjusted when it comes to the specific cases of children on the move. First of all, it does not cover all children on the move. The groups which are most invisible to the system are children who run away very soon after having been identified by an institution – they very often just disappear and are not searched for. Also, some foreign migrant minors who run away from children’s institutions can and do disappear from the system, only not as often. One of the main problems lies in insufficient coordination between different institutions. A child on the move has contact with different institutions but these are individual contacts, lacking one organized plan or agenda for the child, let alone shared discussion or the quick transmission of information. This is why these children very often feel lost in the system. This problem may also be magnified by a lack of data about children on the move – even if some exist, it is spread out among different institutions, with no single organization receiving all data about these children. There are standards of support for children migrating within or across borders which are at least partially applied in practice – as procedures. However, these procedures are not child friendly and do not always serve children. The big disadvantage of these procedures is time – they often take a long time, especially in court, which essentially puts children in the situation of being “in-between”, without knowing what their future will look like and lacking a sense of security.

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