Between 2014 and 2018 over 70 thousand unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) arrived in Italy by the central Mediterranean route, 90% between 15-17 years old. The significant presence in Italy of UASC and the growing number of former UASC who turned 18 (around 60.000 in the last 5 years) have highlighted the need to better understand the factors that affect UASC transition pathway to adulthood in Italy, those facilitating or obstructing it, both at individual and structural levels.
This is the core focus of the report “At a crossroads. Unaccompanied and separated children in their transition to adulthood in Italy”, commissioned by UNICEF, UNHCR e OIM and carried out by Fondazione ISMU, in collaboration with Università degli Studi di Catania and Università degli Studi Roma Tre.
The research adopted a participatory biographical approach– focused on the right of children and adolescents to play an active role in issues of concern to them – and featured as interviewers a group of former UASC, which was conducive to a peer-to-peer interview environment. This approach has put 185 UASC and former UASC (boys and girls) in 3 Regions of Italy (Sicily, Latium, Lombardy), firmly in control with their different stories, subjective challenges, structural obstacles and support factors. A further 46 interviews were carried out with institutional stakeholders, social workers and volunteer guardians who work in close contact with these boys and girls.