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Return of Families

Families in Belgium who are likely to be returned to their country of origin now reside temporarily in an open reception centre that provides support for parents and children alike.

Project dates 01/01/2008 - 31/12/2009
Total budget€423 692
EU contribution75%
Name of the entity managing the projectFPS Home Affairs, Immigration Office

Project Description

This project was launched in response to a judgement from the European Court of Human Rights, which found that Belgium had not adapted facilities for migrant families with children who are to be returned to their country of origin.

Families are now placed in open houses and receive coaching and counselling from a ‘return coach’, who is also responsible for administration linked to the stay and the return. The aim of the coaching is to persuade families to opt for voluntary return. If this option is refused, a forced return takes place.

Benefits and results

In the years 2008 and 2009, 62 families stayed in the family units. Exactly half returned, and eight of these received reintegration assistance from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The centre takes into account the needs of the parents and their children. The open facility is a less traumatic and stressful environment for both. The children go to school during their stay, and the entire family receives counselling to prepare them for their return.

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