With the expression “unaccompanied minor”, in a European and national context, reference is made to the foreigner (a citizen of non-European Union states and stateless), under the age of eighteen, who is, for whatever reason, in national territory, without assistance and legal representation (Article 2 of Legislative Decree No. 142/2015 and Article 2 of Law No. 47/2017).

The reception of minors is based above all on the establishment of first-rate government facilities for the emergency and immediate protection needs of all unaccompanied minors.

The first reception facilities are activated by the Ministry of the Interior, in agreement with the local authority in whose territory the structure is located, and managed by the Ministry of the Interior also in agreement with the local authorities.

The program dedicated to unaccompanied foreign minors for the period 2016-2019 is divided into five structures in the provinces of Lecce, Brindisi and Taranto. Arci Lecce is the leader of the AMIF project in the municipalities of Carpignano Salentino, Aradeo, San Pietro Vernotico, Brindisi and Laterza. The five centers are managed in collaboration with other partners, in particular the “Polvere di Stelle” cooperatives in Aradeo, Nuovi Orizzonti in Laterza and Incerchio in Brindisi.

The centers managed by Arci Lecce are:

Minors are welcomed for the time strictly necessary for identification and possible assessment of their age, as well as to receive all information on the rights of the child, including that of seeking international protection.

Foreign minors who are in Italy have the right to remain in the national territory and be protected like any other Italian boy or girl, respecting their “superior interests”, as provided for by the Convention on the rights of children and adolescents 1989.

Throughout the duration of the project is guaranteed psychological support, health care, but also recreational and recreational paths. Among these there are initiatives that tend to bring children closer to the local context that hosts them as excursions to discover the natural and historical beauties, the laboratory of culinary integration “Mondo in Pasta”, promoted within the initiative of Arci Lecce ” A Tavola con noi “, to learn on the field how to make homemade pasta and typical local pasta products followed by local workers, meetings with associations, schools and local administrations.

In any case, minors may remain in the first reception facilities not more than thirty days (the original term was sixty, then further reduced by Law 47/2017).

For the continuation of the child’s reception, it is expected that all unaccompanied minors will be accepted as part of the Protection System for asylum seekers and refugees – SPRAR, whose capacity must therefore be commensurate with the actual presence of foreign minors in the national territory and in any case within the limits of the National Fund for asylum policies and services.