FOR THE FIRST TIME IN GREECE, METADRASI SECURES GUARDIANSHIP FOR MINORS
Through its work supporting unaccompanied minors, METAdrasi observed that children placed under the close supervision of a guardian were less likely to succumb to high-risk choices. Without an effective Guardianship Network, many children would not have access to the National Protection System.
In 2014, in conjunction with the Norwegian organization Vergeforeningen Følgesvennen, the “We are all Citizens” network, and several other EU organizations, METAdrasi created the first structured network of specially-trained guardians in Greece. This network was created after several months of intensive research on the best foster guardianship practices for unaccompanied minors.
The Guardianship Network for Unaccompanied Minors aims to effectively place unaccompanied minors under the protection of a local guardian. These guardians help ensure that all children’s basic needs, rights, and protections are met. The ultimate goal of this programme is to provide children with a fun, enjoyable childhood—a childhood that will affect their entire life.
The Guardianship Network consists of 73 members who act in close cooperation with the Public Prosecutors for Minors and the First Instance Public Prosecutors. The Guardianship Network has guardians based in Athens, Thessaloniki, Orestiada, Alexandroupoli, Kavala, Kozani, Ioannina, Volos, Veria, Evia, Lesvos, Chios, Samos and Kos. The network helps place minors who are detained or staying in accommodation centres/camps with local guardians, and aims to cater to these minors’ basic needs.
Network members include psychologists, lawyers, sociologists, teachers, and others who have experience protecting minors. Members have strong communication, cooperation, and organization skills, and are also empathetic and altruistic.
Guardianship Network members, with the written authorization of the Public Prosecutor for Minors or the First Instance Public Prosecutor, advocate on behalf of minors, specifically on issues related to: • asylum procedures • family reunification procedures • familial communication and determining the minor’s best interest • healthcare • education • psychosocial support
In addition to the above, the Guardianship Network members:
• develop meaningful and significant relationships with minors
• help broaden minors’ knowledge and interests through trips to museums/plays/etc.
• create strong friendships with minors-beneficiaries of the project
• help develop minors’ interests and talents
• provide minors with the opportunity to experience childhood, a luxury of which they are often deprived.
Throughout their guardianship, Network members are supported by the project team and an interdisciplinary team of skilled lawyers, psychologists and certified interpreters of METAdrasi.
Most importantly, guardians provide minors with a sense of comfort, acting as a person of reference to whom they can turn at any time and who will always advocate on their behalf.