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:
- Contact with society
- Social and therapeutic care
- 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.
These services can be provided thanks to the funding of the project by the Prague Municipal Office, Prague 14 neighbourhood and the social service of the Ministry of labour and social matters. Thank you!
- Sheltered Accommodation – in principle for 12 months
- Training in social skills (cooking, cleaning, washing – active interacting in the household; learning to economize earned money, to organize time effectively, to communicate with authorities)
- Support when entering the labour market
- Social assistance – accompaniment at offices and institutions
- Social and legal support
- Help with finding proper accommodation
The mission of the social service Half Way House under the title „Supported living for youg refugees“ is to provide help for young people – foreigners without any family background – to fully integrate into society.
- To help young foreigners with every-day situations in the Czech Republic
- To support young foreigners when seeking and keeping a legal job
- To tutor young foreigners to economize earned money and to lead self-reliant lives
- To provide support in dealing with every-day matters
- To tutor young foreigners in how to be independent and self-reliant
- To tutor young foreigners to seek out and use help
- To tutor young foreigners on what their rights and duties are
- To support young foreigners when actively seeking their own accommodation
- Young foreigners 18 – 26 years old who were integrated before reaching the age of majority into a group of unaccompanied minors and who were clients of the Facility for Foreign Children in the Czech Republic
- Young foreigners, 18 – 26 years old, who come from some other living facitility or integration asylum centre of the Refugee Facility Administration of the Ministry of Interior of the Czech Republic
- Those who have international protection – any kind of asylum or permanent residence permission in the Czech Republic
- Those who have a job or they actively looking for a job
- Those who are in an exceptional case the students of a high school, a college or a university and are not for serious reasons clients of the ZDC or of its study department
The Half Way House service is not to be used just as an escape out of a difficult housing situation
- The clients are not alcohol or drug addicted
- They voluntarily agree with all conditions of the program
- The clients are not mentally ill and they are not diagnosed with any mental disorders
- They do not suffer from any acute infectious illness
- The clients are in good health, they do not require hospitalization
- They are able to move around without any other person‘s help
Rules for providing service:
- Trust and respect
- Individual approach
- Active attitude
- Leading to independence, self-fulfillment and self-responsibility
Information for Applicants
We provide assistance in living for young refugees
- Are you 18 – 26 years old?
- Are you single and without children?
- Did you get asylum, complementary protection or did you get permanent residence permission?
- Have you left the „Permon“ (Residential Centre for Children-Foreigners) or a sojourn or an integration asylum centre of the Refugee Facility Administration?
- Are you alone, without your parents and without your family in the Czech Republic?
- Do you not know where to go? Do you not know where to stay?
- Do you want to work but not know where to find a job?
If the answer to any of these questions is YES, the Half Way House social service of the Organization for Aid to Refugees (OPU) is here for you. You will find detailed information on this website.
Cell phone: 723 745 978 (crisis telephone link for unaccompanied minors without either parent or other legal representative, the recent and former clients of the Residential Centre for Foreign Children and for the clients of the Half Way House service.)