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Title: Exploring the perceptions of the volunteers of accueillons, an informal-hosting network of foster families for unaccompanied and separated children in France
Authors: Cimenti, Alice
Orientador: Matias, Ana Raquel
Barroso, Ana Margarida
Keywords: Volunteerism
Unaccompanied and separated children
Volunteer foster families
Serviço social
Serviço voluntário
Família de acolhimento
Acolhimento de crianças -- Child care
Migrações forçadas
Proteção da infância
Organização sem fins lucrativos
Issue Date: 24-Jul-2020
Citation: Cimenti, A. (2020). Exploring the perceptions of the volunteers of accueillons, an informal-hosting network of foster families for unaccompanied and separated children in France [Dissertação de mestrado, Iscte - Instituto Universitário de Lisboa]. Repositório Iscte.
Abstract: The research is an exploratory study investigating the perceptions of the volunteers of Accueillons, a non-profit organization active in France consisting in a network of volunteer foster families for a particular group of unaccompanied and separated children. Accueillons was created in response to the lack of protection provided by the State to unaccompanied minors whose minority is not recognized in the first evaluation and who are appealing the refusal to the judge. In fact, during the appealing procedure which takes several months, boys and girls claiming to be minors are not entitled to receive any form of support from the State and therefore must rely on civil society organizations for shelter, food, material necessities, health services and legal assistance. The research was qualitative in nature and the data was collected through in-depth semi-structured interviews with the 7 participants of the study through video or audio call and then analysed using thematic analysis. The research aimed to investigate the social profile of the formal volunteers of Accueillons, as well as their motivations to engage in this specific volunteering activity and their overall experience. Moreover, the study investigated their perceptions on their role as volunteer foster families towards these minors and the role played by civil society organizations in ensuring their protection in the French context. The respondents of the research presented a similar social profile in terms of age, educational background and occupational status and category, and these findings seem to be in line with previous studies which observed that there was higher participation in formal volunteering activities among individuals with high education levels and employed in highly qualified jobs. The respondents’ engagement with Accueillons was mainly motivated by contextual and practical motivations. The need to actively engage was driven by feelings of outrage and discontent towards the management and reception conditions of migrants and asylum-seekers following the European Migrant Crisis of 2015. While their decision to engage in a volunteering activity targeting specifically minors was motivated by the perceived vulnerability of unaccompanied and separated children and the lack of protection ensured to them by the French State. Regardless the level of commitment required as volunteer foster families, the respondents described the experience in positive terms, as meaningful and enriching under different aspects, and conceived their role towards the minors hosted to be similar to that of parental figures. Civil society organizations were unanimously considered to play a fundamental role in ensuring the protection of unaccompanied and separated children in France and in the EU and as acting either in collaboration with or in substitution of the State, highlighting the need to reform and improve the reception system.
Peer reviewed: yes
Thesis identifier: 202518469
Designation: Mestrado Erasmus Mundus em Serviço Social com Famílias e Crianças
Appears in Collections:T&D-DM - Dissertações de mestrado

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