Unaccompanied minors in the Netherlands: Legislation, policy, and care

Elianne Zijlstra, Jet Rip, Daan Beltman, Carla van Os, Erik J. Knorth, Margrite Kalverboer

Abstract

In recent years, there has been a high influx of unaccompanied minors (UAM) who request asylum in the Netherlands and the majority are coming from countries in situations of war or oppression. In the asylum decision, the best interests of the child are not a primary consideration as stipulated in article 3 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). While UAM are waiting for the outcome of their asylum request, they are sheltered in different care facilities: foster families, small care facilities, or large-scale reception centers. Research points out that living in foster families protects the development of UAM best. The main challenge in the Netherlands is to bring the asylum procedure and reception policy in line with the provisions of the CRC. The best interests of UAM should be assessed during the asylum decision-making procedure, and care facilities should be adapted to the needs of these children.


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