A large proportion of unaccompanied minors are aged between 16 and 17 when they enter the country. They may live in a family group home or supported housing unit until they reach the age of 18. At this point, the duties of the representative assigned to them will also lapse.
Many unaccompanied minors will continue to need support after coming of age in order to cope with everyday challenges. For example, they may need support and guidance in finding or completing their path in education and training. Therefore, it is important that municipalities and wellbeing services counties take into consideration the need to support these young people and provide them with aftercare in accordance with the Integration Act until they turn 25.
The municipality and the wellbeing services county can arrange the aftercare themselves or outsource the service to an external service provider. The State reimburses the wellbeing services county and the municipality for the actual and verified costs. However, the ELY Centre must first decide on the reimbursement of costs. For each young person, the costs are reimbursed for a maximum of ten years.
Compensation may include, for example, social assistance, support for hobbies and studies, social guidance and psychosocial support, as appropriate. Support measures may include regular meetings to discuss and support young people in matters related to education, hobbies, job search, personal finances and housing. In matters related to career selection and planning, use of TE and Ohjaamo services is recommended.
Young people can receive aftercare until they reach the age of 25.
The forms of aftercare offered to young adults include:
- provision of education and training
- finding an apprenticeship or employment
- financial support, funding for studies, hobbies, personal needs and independent living
- supported housing and job seeking
- guidance provided by a municipal employee
- support person or family
- identifying the network of people close to the child
- consultation with people close to the child
- peer support group or biographical work.
Integration plan for a minor
It is stated in the rationale for the Act on the Promotion of Immigrant Immigration that drawing up an individual integration plan for each immigrant minor may not always be necessary. However, an integration plan must always be drawn up for all unaccompanied minors who have been granted a residence permit.
In addition to the family group home, the need for support for a child or young person may be identified at school, day care or by social welfare and health care services. When assessing the situation, attention needs to be paid to the possibility of the child or young person to live a life that supports their health and development, as well as to the opportunity to complete education that is commensurate with their age level and to receive the support they need.
The individual integration plan may include basic and vocational education and training, as well as tuition in the child’s first language, general upper secondary school studies, higher education leading to a degree, and continuing and further education. Besides support in studies, a child or young person may also need child welfare measures.
The integration plan may also include the young person’s participation in youth workshop activities, various hobbies and leisure activities that support the socialisation of young people as services promoting integration.
In the process of drawing up the integration plan, the child's wishes and opinion will be ascertained and taken into consideration in accordance with the child’s age and level of development.
The municipality is primarily responsible for the integration plan of a minor. The municipality and the wellbeing services county will draw up an integration plan together for an unaccompanied minor who has been granted a residence permit. The TE Office may be consulted with regard to choice of career and career planning.
Multiprofessional cooperation is central to supporting and guiding young people. For example, supported housing is one of the methods available to strengthen a young person's capacity for independent living. While in supported housing, services based on social guidance are provided. At the same time, the educational institution that the young person attends provides guidance to support progress in studies. The third sector is an important partner in organising child welfare after-care activities. For example, the Federation of Special Welfare Organisations (EHJÄ) organises supported housing for young immigrants.
Reception centres for adults and unaccompanied minors
Centre for Torture Survivors in Finland
Unaccompanied minor asylum seekers in Finland. Final publication of the project for unaccompanied minors (in Finnish)
Unaccompanied minors – Perspectives on the status of unaccompanied children in Finland], European Migration Network report (in Finnish)
Form template of an integration plan for a minor