The founder of the social service Half Way House is the Organization for Aid to Refugees – a nonprofit and nongovernmental humanitarian organization that was founded in Prague in 1991 as a foundation. The mission of the Organization for Aid to Refugees (OPU) is to help refugees and other foreigners in the Czech Republic who are persecuted in their home country for political, ethnic, religious, racial or social reasons and also those who have asylum and temporary protection rights in the Czech Republic.
The Organization for Aid to Refugees concentrates on help to the threatened groups among refugees, such as children, women in vulnarable conditions and ill and handicapped people. One group that gets special attention is unaccompanied minors (UAMs) without either parent or other legal representative. UAMs are looked after by a special team of OPU consisting of a lawyer, a social staff member and a special tutor. Until 2006 OPU focused mainly on the social counselling services. Since 2006 there has been founded a conception of Half Way House for unaccompanied young refugees based on the long-term experience (see http://www.ddcpraha.cz).
The social service Half Way House has been managed by the Organization for Aid to Refugees (OPU) since March 1, 2008. This social service was founded to fill a gap in the social services provided for unaccompanied minors who leave the Residential Centre for Foreign Children. Although these young foreigners (18 – 26 years old) are relatively socially integrated (living status, study at a high school and communicative level of the Czech language) after their leave from the Residential Centre, they lack the social background, knowledge and experience which are so important for a self-reliant life. It is crucial to provide them with some help and assistance at the very beginning of their self-reliant lives. For this reason we have organized a safe background and space to reach this goal. In a one year period of time the clients adopt the knowledge and skills needed for complete social integration.
Half Way House provides a residential service for people under 26 enacted by law (§ 58 of the laws about social services). Our target group is young people who have reached the age of majority and left a specialized facility of institutional care and those who have left prison or compulsory treatment. The range of social care is adapted to the specific needs of these people.
The social care includes:
2. Contact with society
3. Social and therapeutic care
4. Help with legal and personal matters and also with activities of interest
The social service is provided in an apartment (3 bedrooms) in a newly constructed building owned by MHMP. A rental contract with MHMP was closed on December 21, 2007.
The capacity of this social service is 4 users – 3 bedrooms are available (one double and two single bedrooms), the living room, the kitchen and the bathroom. There is a refrigerator and a stove together with a kitchen unit available in the apartment. There is also a washing machine available. There is an internet connection intended for job and accommodation seeking and the active spending of leisure time. The accommodation is temporary, in general for 12 months.
The service is paid for thusly:
- Enacted by §76 Article 1 Law 108/2006 about social services that regulates payments for social services in Half Way Houses
- Enacted by § 23 Article 2 Public Notice 505/2006 about social services that regulates the maximum amount of payment for social services in Half Way Houses for services enacted by § 23 Article 1 letter a) of this Public Notice.
OPU sets the amount for the above social services at 100 CZK a day total, including operating costs connected with the provided service.
“Unaccompanied minors” (UAMs) are foreigners under the age of 18 who arrived in the Czech Republic without parents or other legal representative. The specification of these terms can be found, if it is the system of law of the Czech Republic, in the valid Asylum Act only. Enacted by law § 2 Article 9 of the aforementioned act for the purpose of the asylum procedure the term “unaccompanied minor” means: “a person who is less than 18 and who arrived in the territory without legal representative who is responsible according to the recognized system of law in the territory whose nationality the minor has or in case that minor is stateless, in the state of last residence and that for so long when the minor is looked after by such person; unaccompanied minors are persons under the age of 18 who were left alone after arrival.” This legal definition is focused on asylum seekers only. If it is a group of UAMs that did not apply for asylum the definition is described in the Aliens Act. The definition included in § 180 letter c) of this Act is broadly similar to that definition in the Asylum Act.
Financial support and information for sponsors
These services can be provided thanks to the funding of the project by the European Refugee Fund, Prague Municipal Office, Prague 14 neighbourhood, the social service of the Ministry of labour and social matters. Thank you!
We would be happy for any kind of support for our clients of Half Way House or the unaccompanied minors in the Residence Centre for Foreign Children. We also appreciate any offers from companies – employers who could provide our clients with any paid or unpaid part-time or full-time job. The most desired jobs are: car-mechanic, cook, waiter, kitchen aide, shop-assistant, household cleaner and others.
If it is your intention to provide us with financial support, this is our bank account:
6026562017/2700 (UniCredit Bank)
Id: 45 76 86 76
Contact Zuzana Wienerová or Judita Klepková.