Faced with the wave of solidarity arising from the war in Ukraine, with dozens of families in Spain willing to open their homes to refugees from the Russian offensive, the Government is preparing a new foster care system to “channel” the support offered with the aim that newcomers can be housed in private homes safely and with institutional support, as announced on Tuesday by the Minister of Inclusion, José Luis Escriva.
The person in charge of the government’s refugee reception policy explained that the reception program seeks to “manage a bag of volunteer families”, who will have to be interviewed by a network of social mediators who “will verify the suitability of the housing offered”. The mechanism will be organized with the collaboration of municipal social services and specialized entities. The minister plans to activate it in “a few weeks.”
The program will take the example of the foster care systems promoted by some autonomous communities to house unaccompanied foreign minors, Escrivá pointed out. However, this project, which will support the initiative of citizens residing in Spain to accommodate refugee families in their homes, must be differentiated from the reception of Ukrainian minors who could arrive in Spain alone, since this task is the responsibility of the autonomous communities that are responsible for their guardianship.
Although the details about the project are still unknown, Escrivá has defended that the system seeks to “ensure” that those displaced by the Russian invasion who are housed in unknown families receive the aid and institutional support that they would obtain if they were welcomed into the network of state centers.
This mechanism will be formed as “one more piece” of the reception device organized by the Government to receive Ukrainians, based on the creation of four reception centers, where the Ministry of Inclusion intends to centralize the registration, detection of needs and processing of the roles of those escaping the conflict. Currently, the spaces in Madrid and Alicante are already operational, with 400 and 200 emergency places, respectively, which will be complemented by hotel and hostel beds. The one in Catalonia, located in the Fira, will open this Friday and will not have accommodation, but emergency reception will be managed through 2,000 hotel beds. The location and opening date of the Andalusian reception resource are still unknown.
The minister has emphasized the importance of refugees from the Russian offensive registering at one of these four reception points, since they have personnel from social entities trained to “identify vulnerabilities” and thus refer them to the corresponding resources or services. . “It is very important that as many as possible pass through these centers, because they are potentially going to receive better care,” Escrivá stressed. Those displaced by the Russian invasion can also go to the police stations set up for this purpose in the rest of the provincial capitals that lack reception centers, as well as in Gijón, Vigo, Algeciras, Ceuta and Melilla, Interior recalls. This measure prevents refugees from having to travel long distances to obtain their documentation but, according to Migrations, requesting it at the centers guarantees “comprehensive” care.
More than 800 permits granted in Madrid
At the moment, the Government has not provided state data on the number of refugees from Ukraine who have obtained their residence and work permit in Spain. Inclusion has only collected the figures of the applicants documented in the Pozuelo reception center. In four days, “more than 800 requests for temporary protection” have been resolved.
As a spokeswoman for Inclusion explained to the press on the day of its opening, the Government’s expectations were higher: its plan was to process 450 files a day. The minister defends that the number of permits granted has been increasing every day, and justifies the gap with his expectations because it is a new center and it has been necessary to “order the queue” of people who came in search of information, papers and reception. Now, applicants for temporary protection who do not require reception will have to make an appointment by phone if they want to apply for residence authorization at one of the reference centers for Ukrainians. Interior defends that the requests are being answered in a “very agile” way and lowers its initial forecasts to about 300 daily.
According to Inclusion, of the total number of people served at the Pozuelo center, more than half are minors and, among adults, there are twice as many women as men“. By area of origin, one in three people served comes from kyiv, 12% from Odessa, 10% from Lviv and 12% were already residents of Spain.