Guardianship for children deprived of parental care (FRA)
This handbook aims to strengthen the protection of children, specifically addressing the particular needs of child victims of trafficking.
The handbook, produced jointly by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the European Commission, responds to a request in the EU strategy towards the eradication of trafficking in human beings 2012–2016. The said EU Strategy recognises the importance of comprehensive child-sensitive protection systems, for which a robust guardianship system serves as a touchstone.
This handbook aims to support public officials in European Union (EU) Member States who are in charge of, or involved in, guardianship and legal representation of children at a national, regional or local level. It provides guidance on how to establish and run national guardianship systems, and it points to the main tasks that a guardian should carry out.
In doing so, the handbook aims to foster a common understanding of the function and role of guardians and legal representatives in the EU as an essential component of child protection systems, to contribute to promoting a shared understanding of the main principles and features of a guardianship system and to standardise the level of protection offered to children throughout the EU.
The handbook underlines the importance of the role of guardians and legal representatives in preventing and responding to child abuse and exploitation, and in protecting and assisting child victims of trafficking. It suggests that the best way to promote the rights and well-being of a child victim of trafficking is by adhering to principles and safeguards common to all guardianship systems – such as a guardian’s independence or absence of conflict of interest – combined with knowledge and skills to do with trafficking in human beings. The handbook discourages, therefore, the establishment of separate guardianship systems dealing only with child victims of trafficking in human beings.