UNHCR and UNICEF have launched Child and Family Support Hubs initiative known as Blue Dots. These hubs will act as a special support centers for children and families along the most frequently used migration routes in Europe. These twenty Child and Family Support Hubs(Blue Dots) will provide a safe space for children and their families, vital services, play, protection and counselling in a single location. The hubs aim to support vulnerable families on the move, especially the many unaccompanied or separated children at risk of sickness, trauma, violence, exploitation and trafficking.
The conflict in Syria continues to be by far the biggest driver of migration. But the ongoing violence in Afghanistan and Iraq, abuses in Eritrea, as well as poverty in Kosovo, are also leading people to look for new lives elsewhere.
Women and children account for two thirds of those crossing to Europe. In February, women and children made up nearly 60 per cent of sea arrivals compared to 27 per cent in September 2015.
About Blue Dots Initiative
- At present the first hubs are operational or about to open in Greece, Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. All 20 will be operational within the next three months.
- They will also aim to identify and protect children and adolescents travelling alone, and reunite them with family wherever possible, depending on their best interests.
Refugees are forced to flee home to escape things like war. Migrants leave home voluntarily to try to make their lives better with a new job or education.
- The Child and Family Support Hubs will be clearly identifiable and provide a standardized and consistent basic package of services provided by different organizations, including National Red Cross Societies and NGO partners.
- The hubs will be located in selected strategic sites – border entry/exit points, registration sites, some strategic urban centres – as well as through mobile/outreach teams.
- The services include:
- restoring family links – services provided by the Red Cross and Red Crescent network
- family reunification
- child friendly space and dedicated mother and baby/toddler spaces
- private rooms for counselling
- psychosocial first aid
- legal counselling
- safe spaces for women and children to sleep
- outreach social workers
- Information desk with Wi-Fi connectivity
The Schengen Area is the area comprising 26 European countries that have abolished passport and any other type of border control at their common borders. It mostly functions as a single country for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy. The Area is named after the Schengen Agreement.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, was established on December 14, 1950 by the UN General Assembly. UNHCR is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. For more than six decades, UNHCR has helped tens of millions of people restart their lives.
UNICEF promotes the rights and well-being of every child. UNICEF with its partners, work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.