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Youth Welfare Agency

Youth Welfare Agency

Solentra has been financially supported by the Youth Welfare Department due to the context in which Solentra operates. The context is the one of an integration policy at the Flemish administration level regarding the well-being of refugee children with or without family in the context of the 2015 refugee crisis. The aim of the Youth Welfare Department is to provide trauma guidance to this target group and support professionals in this field in Flanders.

The demand for a specialised offer regarding trauma therapy for the target group and for the promotion of expertise for the social actors involved remains high. Especially since the outflow of recognised refugees since the refugee crisis is still going on. Some target groups continue to arrive in Europe, like Palestinians and UM (Unaccompanied Minor refugee). Furthermore, family reunification ensures a continuation of the influx.

In 2017 there were 15,373 requests in Belgium for international protection. We saw this number increase in 2018. 46% of those who are protected are minors or young adults, up to 25 years.

Flanders receives just under half of those applicants, between 43% and 49%. In the course of 2016 up to 2018 there was an increasing influx into Flanders from Wallonia. Once recognized, between 50% and 64% of the protected refugees chose to live in Flanders.

As mentioned before, another big source of influx is family reunificiation. In 2016, 50,928 first residence permits were issued on the basis of family reunification. More than 50% of these permits were for family members who came from the country of origin. 3,259 first residence permits were issued by the Belgian State to relatives of beneficiaries of international protection (resettlement). The leading countries were Syria, Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan.

In addition, there is a change in legislation with the judgement of the Court of Justice on the 12th of April 2018. It ruled the decisive moment that counts to be qualified as an “unaccompanied minor” under the family reunification directive, is the moment of the actual application for asylum. The Foreign Affair Service (in Dutch: Dienst Vreemdelingenzaken [DVZ]) will have to adjust its policy here. This will entail a, presumed, increase in the number of family applications by UM.

Target group:

  • Children and their families, recognised refugees or alternatively protected, living in the working area of Solentra;
  • Unaccompanied Minors refugees (UM) who reside in a, by the Flemish Community organised, shelter of live independently. Here, due to the vulnerability of these young people and, often, a rough process of family reunification, an age limit of 25 is observed.

Core assignment:

  1. Offering direct (trauma) treatment and therapy to the target group;
  2. Organising case-related support, consultation and liaison for the youth welfare professionals in the education sector. This is also organised for all integration-promoting factors involved in dealing with this target group and setting up a treatment plan together.

The offer mentioned above is still elemental for the existing regular offers in Flanders regarding mental health care (cggz, network for child and adolescent psychiatry, network a child a plan, etc.). If, this is not available for the described target group and in line with the vision and mission of Solentra. This offer is organised in Flanders. This is where the needs in the field are the greatest. The assignment there is always carried out in close cooperation and coordination with other relevant factors. This is particularly done with other recognised or licensed services by the Flemish community from the healthcare, welfare and education sector that organise shelter, guidance or other offers for UM’s and refugee children, who reside in the work area of the initiator with a temporary or permanent residence status. The offer will get a definite goal in consultation with the Youth Welfare Agency.

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