Vulnerable Minors: Transition to Autonomy

Caritas International Belgium Vulnerable Minors: Transition to Autonomy


Youth in transit


Liège/ Brussels


Since the 1st of July 2016 (Liège) / the 1st of August 2015 (Brussels)


Unaccompanied Minors (MENA) having already obtained status (refugee or subsidiary protection) or a high rate of recognition


Life support towards autonomy, transition from material aid to social-financial aid.

The project

Our target audience is young people between the ages of 16 and 18 who have obtained status or have a high recognition rate and will therefore surely be granted status. The goal is to support their transition to independent living.

The young people in our project live in apartments, in collocation. In Liège, we have 40 places available, scattered in 3 districts of Liège. For the time being, 25 young people live in our structures. In Brussels, we have 16 places in 2 municipalities: Saint-Josse and Laeken.

These young people come from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Somalia or Syria. “They are often suffering, have lived through things that are unimaginable. Learning to rebuild from all of this is far from simple,” comments Catherine Henrotte, our project manager in Liège.


For each youth, a referent, a professional collaborator of Caritas, is appointed. The latter goes to meet the youth in the reception center for asylum seekers, even before the move to our infrastructure. “There, an initial dialogue takes place and we explain to them our project. The important thing for us is to understand how the youth sees things and adapts to them,” adds Catherine.

Another key element: to assess the degree of autonomy of the young person. “This is essential for us! This is the starting point for the construction of the accompaniment provided for the youth. On the practical side, the youth arrives here, signs his or her lease and will be responsible for his or her lodging, then, there is an internal regulation and an inventory is made. “

Scholarly priority

“The priority for us is to educate these young people. Therefore, paralleling the assessment of the youth’s autonomy, he or she also passes literacy, reading, and writing tests in order to evaluate the level of language and, more importantly, to better orient them. “


Once a week, every Wednesday afternoon, the youths participate in various workshops organized by Caritas. “There, the youths discuss budget management, health education, citizenship, they cook together and learn to eat healthy…”

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