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ITALY: Training promotes care for unaccompanied minors

Salesians for Social launches new digital platform to train frontline staff working with unaccompanied minors


(MissionNewswire) Salesians for Social officially launched “The accompaniment of unaccompanied minors in Europe: the experiences of social professionals” digital platform to provide information for frontline staff working with unaccompanied minors in Europe. The platform launched in English and French in October 2020, and now thanks to Salesians for Social, the Italian version is available. Other partners are working to create Greek and German versions.

The platform is the result of the work carried out within the project “Building knowledge from local practices: a solution for better care and support of unaccompanied minors in Europe” and is a collaborative effort of the seven European partners of Salesians for Social in Italy, Apprentices of Auteuil in France, Christian Youth Village Association in Germany, The Smile of a Child in Greece, the research partners the University of Ghent in Belgium, the University of Bedfordshire in England and the Observatory on Child Migration at the University of Poitiers in France.

The digital platform offers ongoing training and interaction with a digital community of experts in the field and with other partners operating in different countries. During the online course, training is focused on the reception for unaccompanied minors upon first arrival, the care of minors during their stay and providing support when they depart.

The training is flexible and participants can take the full training at once or through modules one at time. The examples presented in the training are provided in the form of interactive videos, audio and testimonials and are taken from real experiences in the field by professionals who work with youth. During the training, there is also the chance for self evaluation. On completion of the course, participants receive a certificate.

Elma Placido, a frontline worker from Salesians for Social who participated in creating the digital platform, noted that the creation of the platform provided an opportunity for discussion and debate between various educators of different countries who are all working in the same sector.

“This digital platform provides an opportunity for those first working with unaccompanied minors or those who need a refresher course to access education on the subject,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “These youth need assistance navigating their new country from where to access housing to finding employment or gaining an education. Frontline workers have many things to learn and understand to do this work and this tool presents an opportunity to learn from experts.”

In Italy, young people who are unemployed and not in school or training programs represent 20 percent of the population. Vocational training is an educational path that serves as a highly effective bridge between school and work.

Italy has close to 1.2 million children living in poverty, according to UNICEF. The poverty rate has risen in the wake of Europe’s economic crisis. Unemployment is at its highest level since the late 1970s with the overall jobless rate at 12.5 percent and youth unemployment as high as 41 percent.

According to UNICEF, a growing number of youth are living away from their families in temporary shelters and within government and charity programs because of inadequate support from or neglect by their families. Salesian programs work to combat these challenges by providing shelter, nutrition, education and workforce development services for youth in need.



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