Friday, October 30, 2015

Germany's Unaccompanied Minors

Photo by waterw.a

The New York Times has a compelling story about unaccompanied minors coming from the Middle East to Germany. Estimates place the total number of unaccompanied minors in Germany at 30,000. To put that in context, the United States (with 27.53 times as much physical space and nearly 4 times the population as Germany) received roughly 68,500 unaccompanied minors in FY 2014 and 40,000 in FY 2015.

Germany is struggling to provide for these young arrivals. One city, Passau, has a "youth welfare office" with a budget of €2m and a staff of 25, who, in former times, protected "neglected and abused children from drug-addicted parents and domestic violence." Now, the staff works hard to find "foster families, homes, psychological support, legal guardians and schools for the young Syrian, Afghan and Somali arrivals."

Children as young as 8 are making the journey alone. More typically, Germany is seeing young boys aged 14-17. The few girls who arrive have been severely traumatized by sexual violence.


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