Financed by the Migration Policies Fund, in the framework of the project “Family Tracing Activities and  Assisted Voluntary Return for Unaccompanied Foreign Minors who are on the territory of the Italian State”.


Unaccompanied boys and girls represents a growing migration phenomenon which poses new challenges to minors’ reception and protection systems. Thosechildren are first and foremost human beings usually carrying with them complex stories, composed of unfulfilled expectations , desires, commitments, hard work, pain and joy.

In this section two representative stories are presented, selected among many others that would deserve as much attention. For this reason, this section will be regularly updated, to give space and voice to other life stories.

  1. Back to origins - This is the story of a girl who arrived to Italy from Bolivia to reunite with her mother, regularly residing in Italy. After suffering several abuses, local social services, informed by her teacher, decided to legally act in order to revoke her mother’s legal guardianship. The minor’s mother did not show any interest in her daughter, so the child was accommodated in a specialized centre, where she received the necessary psychological support. After a recovery period, the girl expressed the desire to return back to a normal life in her country of origin. After several legal proceedings, the parental authority was recognized to her aunt, in Bolivia. Then, the Italian authorities asked IOM to carry out family tracing in Bolivia to verify the actual relationship between the child and her aunt, and to assess the opportunities to attend school and recreational activities - such as sports and painting, to support her personal development and well-being- as well as to identify the necessary psychological support in order to fulfil her desire to go back home.
  2. A possible future - A young Afghan boy has travelled from Iran - where he was living with his family - to Italy with his older brother. They arrived together in Rome, where his brother left him alone on a train to Paris. The child, however, was intercepted by the railway police and referred to the social services of Bologna. Meanwhile, his mother, following a different route, arrived in Austria with another son. The social services were able to discover where she was, and IOM was required to meet and assess minor’s mother life in Austria. At the same time, the Dublin Units of the two involved countries began the reunification process. IOM was also required by the authorities concerned to perform DNA tests to verify the parental relationship among them. This set of coordinated interventions carried out by various agencies allowed the reunification of the young boy with his mother and brother in Austria.