FOR FIRST TIME IN GREECE, METADRASI COVERS THE LARGE GAP IN THE GUARDIANSHIP OF MINORS
Through METAdrasi’s experience on supporting unaccompanied minors since 2011, it has been observed that if children were under the close supervision of a guardian, they would not succumb to what are often high risk choices. Without an effective Guardianship Network many children would not have access to the National Protection System.
METAdrasi created in 2014 the first structured Network of specially trained Guardians in Greece, after several months of cooperation and exchange of expertise and best practices with the Norwegian organization Vergeforeningen Følgesvennen and with the collaboration of organizations participating in the network of “We are all Citizens”, as well as other European Organizations with great experience in the field of guardianship of minors.
The innovative for the Greek standards “Guardianship Network for Unaccompanied Minors” has as a main purpose the effective implementation in practice of the role of guardian for the protection and exercise of the rights of children as well as the safeguarding of their basic needs. The ultimate goal is to provide those children with the right to enjoy their childhood, something that will affect their whole life.
The Guardianship Network consists of 65 members who act in close cooperation with the Public Prosecutors for minors and with the First Instance Public Prosecutors in their areas of operation. The Guardianship Network acts in the following areas: Athens, Thessaloniki, Kavala, Orestiada, Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos, Leros, Thiva, Chalkida and Ioannina. It supports minors who are detained or staying in accommodation centers and open or closed camps and provides them with care specific to their needs.
The members of the Network are social scientists (psychologists, lawyers, specialists in international law, sociologists, teachers, etc.) with experience in the field of protection of minors and other vulnerable groups. They are people with communicational, cooperational and organizational skills, who also possess great sensitivity, humanism and altruism.
The members of the Guardianship Network, with the written authorization of the competent Public Prosecutor for Minors or the First Instance Public Prosecutor, act for the benefit of minors on issues relating to: • asylum procedures • family reunification procedures • communication with the minors’ family members to determine their best interests • healthcare • education • psychosocial support
In addition to the above, the Guardianship Network members: • develop meaningful and substantial relationships with minors • visit museums and places for children’s activities • participate in theatrical games and cooking classes • create strong friendships with minors-beneficiaries of the project • take actions to develop the minors’ talents • offer the minors the opportunity to experience childhood, a luxury that they have been deprived of.
Throughout the activity, the members of the Network are supported by the project team and an interdisciplinary team of skilled lawyers, psychologists and certified interpreters of METAdrasi.
What is most important is that the minors have their own guardian, a person of reference to whom they can turn at any time and know that s/he will be always on their side.