«Fast housing» will improve the wait for Asylum Children
The Christian Democrats (KrF) hopes that a new model for the settlement of single asylum children can lead them to a safe home much faster. The «Fast housing» model is to be tested in the new year.
Deputy Leader of the Christian Democrats, Kjell Ingolf Ropstad, calls the test project revolutionary.
– It is high time that Norway put in place a lasting solution for children in reception centres waiting for their asylum application to be processed, he tells NTB.
the Christian Democrats obtained a victory in the 2019 budget to set aside NOK 15 million for a pilot project for faster settlement. Ropstad believes the «Fast housing» model gives the children the support and care they are in dire need of while the application is being processed.
The Ministry of Children and Gender Equality handles the housing of asylum seekers and will, early next year, clarify the purpose of the grant, NTB is informed.
Lillehammer at the ready
Lillehammer is ready to be a pilot municipality when the Ministry has made up its mind.
– The municipality of Lillehammer has capacity, professionals and is ready to embark on this project. We see that it will be an important and correct step in the development of the settlement of unaccompanied minor asylum seekers in Norway, Hans Kristian Enge in Lillehammer tells NTB.
Lillehammer has been performing settlements of single asylum children since 2009 and today has four residences set aside for this group. The municipality follows up on over 30 young people in housing, foster homes and in bedsits.
– The situation in recent years has shown that many young persons – who move around a lot – experience great uncertainty in their housing situation at the reception and care centres in Norway. This, together with an unresolved residence situation, leads to a great risk of re-traumatisation, he believes.
Enge hopes that faster settlement can provide asylum seekers with stability in their everyday lives and the necessary tranquillity and assistance to handle their situation.
From the Netherlands
The model that Norway is inspired by, comes from the Netherlands. There, one foundation is responsible for everything from reception and guardianship to the recruitment and follow-up of foster homes. The children are provided with housing fast, regardless of whether they have been granted permanent or temporary residence.
– We know that the waiting time for these children is a great mental strain. The «Fast housing» solution can ensure that the children stay in a family and be part of a local community while their asylum application is being processed, says Program Manager in SOS Children’s Villages, Sissel Aarak.
Single minor asylum seekers who were resident in Norway in 2017 had, on average, lived 19 months in the reception unit from the case was established until they became resident in a municipality. Compared to 2013, this constitutes an increase of 13 months.
– The children are staying too long at reception centres and lack steady caretakers around them. This model solves both issues, Aarak continues.
Lots of criticism
The Norwegian Government has received much criticism for the treatment of the single asylum children.
In October, the Office of the Auditor General wrote in a report that quality controls and supervision of care centres for asylum children under the age of 15 are not carried out in accordance with the requirements of law and regulations.
The Government has also been criticized for not having reintroduced the conditions of reasonableness related to internal flight, and for continuing the use of temporary residence permits.
In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of unaccompanied minors coming to Norway, receiving temporary residence and having to leave the country when they reach the age of 18.
This summer, Norway also received criticism from the UN Committee on the Rights of Children, who is concerned about children’s living conditions in asylum reception centres, returning to unsafe areas and children who quite simply disappear from these without a trace.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today