Best Practice 5

Establishment and Operation of an Open Reception Center for Unaccompanied Minors

Unaccompanied minors generally defined as foreign nationals or stateless persons below the age of 18, who arrive on the territory of a state unaccompanied by a responsible adult, and for as long as they are not effectively taken into care of such a person.

“Hope For Children” CRC Policy Center in corporation with the Nicosia Municipality Multifunctional Foundation run the project since 2015.  “Hope For Children” CRC Policy Center in 2014 has undertaken the establishment and operation of the private children’s shelter “Home for Hope” which accommodates unaccompanied minors under the legal guardianship of the Director of the Social Welfare Services and provides multi-disciplinary and holistic services.

The children’s shelter operates with the approval and close collaboration of the Social Welfare Services of the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance. The shelter is staffed with specialized officers in the fields of psychology, social work, law and education. It provides services based on models that are considered good practices in other European countries, adapted to the needs and special circumstances of Cyprus. The services offered by the programme are divided and grouped under three main pillars that form the operating mechanism of the shelter:

a.       Rehabilitation services: Intake of social history; Assisting in the procedure of age assessment; Legal and social counseling services; Psychological support/counselling and therapy (when needed).

b.       Integration services: Legal and social counseling services; Psychological support; Language classes (afternoon educational classes and entertainment activities and assisting access to public and/or private education).

c.       Durable solution services: Family tracing and assessment, possibility of voluntary return within the framework of family reunification to other member states and/or of return to the country of origin; Investigation of possibility for placement in foster care; Legal and social counseling services; Psychological support; Support during the transition to adulthood and integration to the society

For the period July 2014 until June 2015, the shelter was receiving funding from the European Refugee Fund (95%) under the Solidarity Funds of the Ministry of Interior and the Republic of Cyprus (5%) for covering the operational expenses of the shelter. Financial support was also received by the Social Welfare Services. For the period November 2015 until November 2019, the shelter will be co-funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (90%) and the Republic of Cyprus (10%), under the framework of the Project “Establishment and Operation of an Open Reception Center for Unaccompanied Minors”. 

The children leaving in the shelter had the opportunity to participate in Greek and English classes, Gymnastic, Theatre, Arts and Music classes. Additionally, the children have the great opportunity to participate in field trips and in bus tours in Nicosia and generally in Cyprus. Furthermore, health and hygiene as well as sexual health workshops are available to the children.

Through those activities which are under the pillar B (described above) the kids are getting know better the city they leave, they learn the language enhancing and improving their communication level either in Greek or in English. They learn how to be part of the community life and how to respond to the social development needs of the society. At the same time, attention is paid to the fact that children live according to their own culture and religion. Also, they are active members of the community. They learn how to recognize and express their individual abilities, interests and talents. The children receive education and skills training they need to be successful and contributing members of society.

Activities (gymnastic, Greek and English classes, music, etc) were seen to support in maintaining daily routine and workout therapeutically, helping the children to forget their worries. According to the staff, the children participation helped to sleep better and, in that way, served to maintain the rhythm.

 Children & Family Policy

 Citizenship & Civic Engagement

  Language Access

Social Cohesion & Identity

 Housing and social services

  Access to the labour market


 Participation in political processes and in decision-making

 Cultural awareness


☒  Language Training

☒ Language Assessment

☒  Intercultural communication

The project called “Establishment and Operation of an Open Reception Center for Unaccompanied Minors” is implemented in Nicosia, Cyprus, within the shelter well known as “Home for Hope”.

Name: Stavroula Georgopoulou

Organization: Nicosia Municipality Multifunctional Foundation