New convention allows institutions to care for unaccompanied minors for indefinite period
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    New convention allows institutions to care for unaccompanied minors for indefinite period

    The Youth Assistance Service, SAJ, of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and the Federal Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers, Fedasil, on Friday concluded an agreement guaranteeing the reception of unaccompanied foreign minors in Belgium. In late 2015, following an influx of unaccompanied minors in the country, the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, FWB, had decided – although the reception of such minors is a federal matter – to support Fedasil on a humanitarian basis by providing accommodation for these very vulnerable young people.

    The FWB and Fedasil had then signed a convention to create up to 130 places in youth assistance institutions, under a joint-funding arrangement. Since then, the agreement has always been renewed, but on a yearly basis, which did not enable the youth-assistance services to work in the best of conditions.

    FWB Youth Assistance Minister Rachid Madrane subsequently proposed to the Secretary of State for Asylum, Theo Francken, to conclude a convention of indefinite duration. However, the discussions were bogged down for a while by budgetary considerations.

    Minister Madrane announced on Sunday that the situation had been resolved on Friday and a convention of indefinite duration had been signed.

    “I welcome the fact that this pragmatic solution has been achieved,” Madrane is quoted as saying in a press release. “Beyond the budgetary or political difficulties, it allows the institutions authorized to receive these young people to provide care on a sustainable basis for the most vulnerable unaccompanied foreign minors, which Fedasil’s usual reception solutions do not allow for.”  

    Under the agreement, the Federation will provide the foreign minors with up to 130 places in youth-assistance institutions, according to the need.

    The Federal Government, for its part, will bear most of the cost of the operation, to the sum of 81.86 euros per day for each place occupied, Madrane’s office explained. This will amount to the same as previous annual conventions.

    Andy Sanchez
    The Brussels Times