Commissioner: There are about 30,000 unaccompanied child refugees from Ukraine in the Czech Republic

Envoy: There are about 30,000 unaccompanied child refugees from Ukraine in the Czech Republic

Illustrative photo – Lessons for Ukrainian children, September 9, 2022 in Mladá Boleslav, which the city provided in part in the building of the former Hermes private secondary school.

Prague – There are approximately 30,000 child refugees from Ukraine in the Czech Republic who arrived here alone without adults. Some of the incoming children and young people remain in children's homes. Authorities and organizations should focus more on the support and inclusion of this vulnerable group. Klára Šimáčková Laurenčíková, Commissioner for Human Rights and National Coordinator for Adaptation and Integration of Refugees, told ČTK. Experts advise securing places for children and young people in schools, strengthening the teaching of the Czech language and offering them clubs. According to research by the PAQ Research agency, at the end of last year in the Czech Republic, 46 percent of young people from Ukraine went to secondary schools, and 90 percent of Ukrainian children went to elementary schools.

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“At the moment, we are registering approximately 30,000 unaccompanied children who are in the territory of the Czech Republic. We perceive this group as particularly vulnerable. Although a certain part of the children will gradually reach the age of majority here, they have no ties in the community, no extended family, no one to in case of problems, he could be a natural support. It is important that we are able to stay in touch with this group and that we are also ready to offer support and help if needed,” said the representative.

According to her, young people over 15 come to the Czech Republic themselves. Upon arrival, they receive an arrival visa for protection. With him, they have health care, access to education and security. Unaccompanied children are immediately registered by social workers from child protection departments (OSPOD). They have information about their place of accommodation, and then provide them with support based on their condition and age. They received instructions for working with child refugees without loved ones from the Ministry of Labor last spring. Some non-profit organizations also aim to help. “We also need to intensify attention to this group in cooperation with the regions and other partners, so that we know that these young people are in safe conditions and have support for good adaptation and integration,” said Šimáčková Laurenčíková.

According to her, some of the young people are now living in halfway houses, some have joined families. But many ended up in children's homes. “It is true that a certain part was accommodated in institutions of institutional education. They can stay there until they reach the age of majority. They should then receive the same support as those who leave these institutions and receive some financial support at the beginning, receive contacts for follow-up services and social workers,” said the representative. He wants to discuss the topic with the Ministry of Education, under which children's homes fall. “At the moment when there will be independence, I perceive a moment of risk. It is good to increase the awareness of this group of young people, how not to become a victim of labor or sexual exploitation, how to defend against unethical treatment, how to find a job safely, where to seek help for independent life. We perceive that it would be good and important to monitor more and intensively the movement of this group of young people around the country, and to know that they do not end up in threatening situations,” said the coordinator. He wants to consult with young arrivals from Ukraine about the possibilities of information.