Supporting unaccompanied minors

The numbers of unaccompanied minor asylum seekers arriving in Finland have varied over the  years. In 2015, about 3,000 unaccompanied minors arrived in Finland as asylum seekers, whereas in the preceding years, this figure had been around 200.

Support for minors living without a guardian

Under the Integration Act, the care and attention for and upbringing of unaccompanied minors or young persons who have been issued with a residence permit and who have been admitted to Finland under a refugee quota shall be organised in a manner that responds to their needs. The required services may be organised in family group homes or using supported family placement or otherwise in an appropriate manner.

The municipality of residence of an immigrant child or young person is responsible for supporting them and organising the services they need. As municipal residents, unaccompanied children or young persons have the right to access all those services that are available for other municipal residents.

Unaccompanied children or young persons may be covered by support measures until they reach the age of 21 or until a guardian for them is appointed in Finland. The same services can be offered to young persons as to those in aftercare referred to in the Child Welfare Act. 

Family group homes and other residential units

A municipality may establish a family group home or some other residential unit for children and young people. The municipality agrees with the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment on the establishment of a family group home or other residential unit, or on outsourcing the family group home services.

The municipality also agrees on the placement of children and young persons in these units, the arranging of services promoting integration and the reimbursement of the costs arising from the measures with the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment. 

Representing a child

A representative shall be appointed without delay for a child that has been issued with a residence permit under a refugee quota and a child that is a victim of trafficking in human beings and has a residence permit if the child in question is residing in Finland without a guardian or other legal representative. Representatives may also be appointed for other children that have been issued with a residence permit and that are residing in Finland without a guardian or other legal representative.

The application for appointing the representative is submitted by the body of the municipality in which the child is residing responsible for social welfare. Before the application is submitted the child shall be heard and the interests of the child taken into consideration.

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