UNHCR, UNICEF launched Blue Dot hubs to protect children & families on move across Europe

Mar 4, 2016 13:00 IST

UNHCR, UNICEF on 26 February 2016 launched a Twenty Child and Family Support Hubs, known as Blue Dots. These support centers will acts as a special support centers for children and families along the most frequently used migration routes in Europe.

They will also help in protecting the growing numbers of children and others with specific needs arriving in Europe.

Key characteristics of Blue Dot hubs

• The hubs aim to support vulnerable families on the move, especially the many unaccompanied or separated children at risk of sickness, trauma, violence, exploitation and trafficking.

• The hubs will be located in selected strategic sites - border entry/exit points, registration sites, some strategic urban centres - as well as through mobile/outreach teams.

• The first hubs are now operational or about to open in Greece, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia.

• All the 20 Blue Dot hubs will be operational within the next three months.

• The services to be provided by these hubs include

(i) Restoring family links - services provided by the Red Cross and Red Crescent network

(ii) Family reunification

(iii) Child friendly space and dedicated mother and baby/toddler spaces

(iv) Private rooms for counseling

(v) Psychosocial first aid

(vi) Legal counseling

(vii) Safe spaces for women and children to sleep

(viii) Outreach social workers

(ix) Information desk with Wi-Fi connectivity

• Under these centers children and their families will be provided safe space, vital services, play, protection and counseling in a single location.

When Blue Dot hubs are created?

Blue Dot Hubs are created at a time when women and children account for two thirds of those crossing to Europe. In February, women and children made up nearly 60 percent of sea arrivals compared to 27 percent in September 2015.

These hubs identify and protect children and adolescents travelling alone, and reunite them with family wherever possible, depending on their best interests. These hubs also provide protection they need in an unfamiliar environment, where they may be at risk.

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