Hundreds of children in Greece are in desperate need of the warmth and safety of a family. Some of them have lost their own parents on treacherous migration routes to Europe, leaving them alone and vulnerable. A non-governmental organization, METAdrasi, runs a foster care program for these children so that they can stay in a secure and loving environment while they wait for authorities to track down family members in the EU.
How to help a refugee child in Greece ?
Throughout Europe there are thousands of children who, like Anousheh, have lost their families on the journey or have traveled alone. Last year, according to the UNHCR, almost 11,000 unaccompanied children were among the nearly 140,000 people to arrive in Greece, Italy and Spain seeking protection. As of May 2019, there were 3,788 unaccompanied children registered in Greece alone. Many of these children face unsafe environments when they reach Europe. They may be homeless or, in some cases, be forced to stay in detention centers or police stations.
Who can apply?
Greek families, including unmarried couples, single-parent families and families without children can apply. Foreign nationals who have lived in Greece legally for a long time can also apply.
To foster a child you need to be physically and mentally healthy, financially stable and be over 30 but under 60 years old. When METAdrasi matches a foster parent with a child, they make sure the parent is at least 18 years, but not more than 50 years older than the child.
What does a foster parent do?
The foster parent is expected to take full responsibility for the child’s everyday needs and care, including emotional support, by providing a secure and stable environment where the child can develop his or her personality and adapt smoothly to Greek society.