The Government Agency for Child Protection is asking for people willing to open their homes to child refugees. The agency head says Icelanders “need to significantly improve” their reception of refugee children.
Not all of the Syrian refugees coming to Iceland are adults, and not all of the children necessarily have adult guardians. As such, the Government Agency for Child Protection has sent out a call for Icelanders willing to open their homes to refugee children aged 13 to 17. Seven children arrived as refugees last year without adult guardians and, as the Directorate of Immigration is predicting some 600 asylum seekers this year, it is expected that this will include children without parents.
“I think we need to significantly improve ourselves concerning children without guardians,” Bragi Guðbrandsson, the director of the Agency, told reporters. “By the same token, we need to provide those children who come with parents much more attention than we have been giving them.”
This contention bears out in the words of refugee children themselves. As RÚV reported, many of them have attested that no one actually talks to them. Some of the testimony from child refugees that nurse Helga Guðmundsdóttir has compiled include:
“No one has asked me how I feel.”
“People only talk to my mom and dad.”
“Sometimes I can’t sleep, because I’m thinking about something negative. Negativity connected to an intolerable wait, not knowing what’s going to happen.”
If you might be interested in welcoming a child refugee in your home, you can contact the Government Agency for Child Protection here for more information.