According to Klara Šimáčková Laurenčíková, the human rights commissioner for the Czech Republic and national coordinator for the adaptation and integration of refugees, there are around 30,000 Ukrainian children living in the Czech Republic without adult accompaniment.
Some of these children live in children’s homes and require more support and integration from Czech authorities and organizations. Experts recommend providing places in schools for these young people, expanding the availability of Czech language education and leisure-time activities.
The PAQ Research agency conducted a survey at the end of last year, which found that 46% of Ukrainian youths attended secondary schools and 90% of Ukrainian children went to primary schools in the Czech Republic.
Šimáčková Laurenčíková considers this group to be especially vulnerable because they lack bonds to the community and broader family support networks. The government must stay in touch with this group and offer them support and assistance if needed.
Most of the Ukrainian youths leaving for the Czech Republic alone are over 15 years old and are granted temporary protection visas upon arrival, which give them access to education and healthcare.
Social workers from the child protection section register unaccompanied minors upon arrival, collect data about their accommodation, and provide aid based on their condition and age.
They received training from the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs last spring to work with child refugees, and some NGOs are also providing assistance.
Some of these Ukrainian youths live in temporary homes, others stay with families, but a number of them have ended up in children’s homes.
Šimáčková Laurenčíková believes that this group should be better informed about the risks of labor exploitation or sexual abuse and should know how to defend themselves against unethical treatment, find jobs safely, and seek help for their independent lives.
The movement of this group of young people around the country should be monitored to prevent them from ending up in vulnerable situations. The commissioner also plans to discuss the issue with the Ministry of Education, which is responsible for children’s homes.