The Spanish experience of National focus gropus
ACCEM’s description of the focus groups held in Spain
The Spanish Law on Protection of Childhood and Adolescence represents the legal basis both for the protection of unaccompanied foreign minors and for Spanish children in a situation of abandonment. Basically the competence in assuming the guardianship and assuring the protection of minors is of the Autonomous Community/Autonomous City in which the minor is located, considering that in Spain there are 17 Autonomous Communities and 2 Autonomous Cities (Ceuta and Melilla, two Spanish enclaves in Morocco).
The vast majority of unaccompanied minors arriving in Spain are male, from Morocco and aged between 15 and 17 years-old.
ACCEM as partner of the FORUM project, held two focus groups with unaccompanied migrant children: 14 children aged between 15 and 17 years old hosted in two facilities participated, 2 of them were girls and they were coming from Morocco, Mali, Afghanistan, Paraguay and Venezuela.
The children are hosted in two small facilities, and different professionals took part at the focus group.
Positive and negative aspects of foster care
In relation to the positive and negative aspects of living with a foster family, some of the children who participated in the two focus groups have stressed its positive aspect of fostering integration, as well as the possibility to learn Spanish more quickly and to feel more “Spanish” thanks to the care and love of a Spanish family. Few children judge that foster care would be more suitable and appropriate for young children more than for adolescents.
All the children participating in the two focus groups agree in preferring to live in a small facility, that is the reception solution they are currently experimenting. Most of the children consider they prefer to live with children of the same nationality, probably as a manner of not feeling the distance from their culture so much. However, most of the children are aware of the prejudices they experiment in their integration process in Spain could be avoided in case of living with a Spanish foster family.
Children also consider that it would be better that the foster family has already natural children, because this would represent a support for their integration into the Spanish society, as well as for entertainment. In assessing and discussing about the testimonies and positive experiences of foster care in other countries, children agree that the main aspect of their functioning is because of the “family love and care”.