Monday, July 4

The death of two migrant minors under guardianship in Andalusian centers calls into question psychosocial care beyond their reception

Two migrant minors have recently died in different centers specialized in the care of unaccompanied foreign minors in Andalusia, managed by private foundations in the province of Seville subsidized by the Junta de Andalucía within their programs for care, reception and social and labor insertion. About a month ago, in mid-May, they lost their lives in different circumstances, as this newspaper has been able to confirm from various sources. The Andalusian administration refuses to report this despite being under its tutelage. These deaths, unusual in this type of resource, reopen a debate that goes beyond the first humanitarian assistance offered to those minors who usually arrive by boat on the Andalusian coast, or hidden in the engine of a boat like Ibrahim, but who bring an “emotional backpack” loaded with circumstances in their places of origin, with uprooting and psychological problems that need to be dealt with.

Because one of those minors decided to kill himself. The other, who had been living in Écija (Seville) for three years, died of “pulmonary edema”, frequently associated with drug use. In fact, he went to resources for “problems that these minors sometimes present,” according to sources from the Aproni foundation, which manages the socio-labor integration center where he was and who regrets what happened after working with the boy for three years. 17 years old. “He was integrated in the town, in his institute” and his early death has been “a hard blow” for the entity, from where contacts with the Board, the Moroccan Consulate and his family of origin have been processed.

Little information has emerged from the other case, only that it was a voluntary death. The young man resided in the Miguel de Mañara de Montequinto center, Dos Hermanas (Seville), also specialized in the care of unaccompanied foreign minors and managed by SAMU. Neither the foundation nor the Board want to comment on the event. For Michel Bustillo, from Volunteers for Another World, from Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz), “the problem of attention to these young people is that they have very large components due to their origin”, and insists that “you have to know how to give an answer to that emotional backpack because, who works it with him? “.

The Ombudsmen warned that psychological care for these children is “very limited” and Unicef ​​is committed to “a specific and specialized approach” in minors with addiction problems, mental health or dual pathology

A good connoisseur of the subject, Bustillo points out that some centers work on these circumstances well, putting them in contact with their parents and taking into account the family component in the treatment, but many others are not capable of managing the inner vicissitudes with “young people who come from another country, another culture “. “Anyone can not do that job,” he comments to this medium, pointing out that another “underlying problem” is the “low cost” subcontracting of entities or foundations by the Board to take care of minors and children. accompany them in their “migratory duel”.

“State of ambivalence and state of mourning”

In any case, the Ombudsmen of Spain, among other institutions and entities, have been warning of the special situations of these young people. For example, according to synthesis document of October 2019 of its 34 coordination days, focused that time precisely on the attention to unaccompanied foreign minors, of the reports received from the different ombudsmen regarding their immediate attention, the following was stated: “These minors receive in the centers immediate reception, attention to their basic needs (food, clothing, medical assistance, etc.) but psychological care is very limited – which is especially necessary – the study of the possibility of being a creditor of international protection or asylum and, in Generally, actively take care of all your rights. ”

Another example of a wake-up call is transferred to this newspaper by Unicef ​​Andalusia Committee which, despite the fact that it is planned to develop a specific network for mental health problems in children and adolescents, makes the following assessment about the mental health care of children in the protection system and unaccompanied foreign children: “Psychosocial support in protection centers to care for boys and girls with addiction problems, mental health or dual pathology, requires a specific and specialized approach”, advocating for “improve accessibility and coordination with these assistance devices”.

According to ‘Guide for initial health examination of unaccompanied foreign minors‘, published by the Ministry of Health and Families in June 2019, regarding its psychosocial assessment, it states that “the service for the protection of minors has the main function of investigating the socio-family circumstances of the child, to try, if it is possible, the family reunification and to cover other needs of protection that it requires “. Likewise, it points out that “the psychosocial adaptation process entails the obligation to regularly communicate its evolution and results to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, who acts as the superior vigilant of the actions of the administrations in the exercise of their powers.” In the adaptation phase of the migratory process, in which the deceased youths would find themselves, a “state of ambivalence and a state of mourning”, and “sadness for what has been left and hope for the future” are collected.

“A personalized attention”

On the other hand, from the organization Insert Andalusia They contributed various proposals related to mental health to the draft Law on Childhood and Adolescence, prepared by the Ministry of Equality, Social Policies and Conciliation, and processed by the Andalusian Parliament. In that sense, they considered from the NGO “the importance of creating residential resources with low ratios (no more than 6) so that a family environment can be created and young people who live in it can have personalized attention, be able to hold real assemblies in which the boys and girls who live there are listened to, their problems, ambitions and fears are known “.

Inserta also proposed “the use of evaluation criteria verified by the scientific method that allows to evaluate and carry out real monitoring of the users”, as well as a system of benefits for young people under guardianship when they reach the age of majority. ” resources for minors, many are forced to abandon treatments that have already begun, “highlighting that psychiatric medications” are very common, “indicate sources from the organization for vulnerable children and youth.