Transcultural roadmap for supporting belonging among unaccompanied children and young people (TRUST)

The year 2015 brought a sudden increase in numbers of unaccompanied minors when about 95 000 of them claimed asylum in Europe. This change resulted from worsening long-standing wars and conflicts in the Middle East and Africa.

Recent years have shown that the contemporary protection and integration measures in several EU countries are not adequate to handle this situation sustainably. The TRUST project worked together with unaccompanied minors, stakeholders and care practitioners to find solutions to the problems of care and social support.

Unaccompanied minors are transcultural subjects. They are in need of protection and care. Their own agencies, skills and resources also need to be valued. In order to develop sustainable care practices, we need to understand the multiple worlds within these minors.

Social support for unaccompanied minors requires cross-sectoral approach among educators, care providers, child and youth workers, and multiple governing practices. The TRUST project facilitated this cooperation and centres around the lived experiences of the unaccompanied minors.  

TRUST developed understanding and practical tools through which the unaccompanied minors can be supported and protected in an embracing manner in their new host societies. The project focused on practices through which the transcultural and translocal belonging among unaccompanied minors could be acknowledged, recognised and supported. Through experiments and pilots in Finland, Sweden, Germany and Australia, TRUST gained first-hand knowledge of how to ground social integration and belonging into care practices and policies.

This Academy of Finland funded key-project was led by Docent Anna-Kaisa Kuusisto and employed five researchers during 2016-2018.