How to help a refugee child in Greece: Open your home 🏠

If you are in Athens or Thessaloniki, you can offer the warmth of your family and the safety of your home to refugee children who are alone in Greece.

The Greek organization Metadrasi runs a short-term foster care program for unaccompanied minors who are in the process of being reunited with relatives in another European country.

Since the program started in September 2015, it has helped 38 children stay in a family home while waiting to join family outside Greece.

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Who can apply?

  • Greek families — including unmarried couples, single-parent families, and families without children
  • Families of other nationalities (Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, etc.) who have lived legally in Greece for a long time — including unmarried couples, single-parent families, and families without children

You need to:

  • Be physically and mentally healthy
  • Be financially stable
  • Be over 30 but under 60

When Metadrasi matches you with a child, they will make sure you are at least 18 years older than the child, but not more than 50 years older.

What is expected?

You are expected to take full responsibility for a child’s everyday needs, including emotional support, in a secure family environment.

You are not expected to take permanent custody of the child you foster — parents (or the child’s closest relatives) retain custody of the child.

You are not expected to give parental consent (for example, in case of an emergency or if the child needs surgery).The Greek public prosecutor for minors will sign a special order any time parental consent is needed.

How long will my foster child live with me and my family?

The period of time the child will stay with your family depends on how long his or her Family Reunification procedure takes. The process usually takes between 6 and 8 months.

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What does the Metadrasi foster care program offer foster parents?

Metadrasi offers approved foster parents:

  • A guardian from Metadrasi’s Guardianship Network who already has a close relationship with your foster child. The guardian will remain involved in your foster child’s life while he or she stays with your family.
  • A €300 allowance per month. (You will have to provide detailed list of expenses at the end of each month.)
  • Interpretation services, if and when you need them.
  • Preparatory meetings with your family and psychosocial support for your children, if you have any.
  • Psychosocial support services for your foster child.
  • Administrative support during school enrollment, doctor’s visits and other activities.

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Applying

How can I apply?

If you are willing to undertake the care and the support of an unaccompanied minor, you can contact Metadrasi.

You can:

What happens after I apply?

After you apply to the foster care program, Metadrasi will ask you to bring in a number of documents, including IDs, family records, financial records, doctor’s certificates, Residence Permits (if you are not Greek), and criminal records.

You should expect at least one visit from a social worker and a psychologist, who will interview each member of your family.

Additional meetings with social workers and psychologists may follow.

The process will take around a month.

How can I get more information?

Metadrasi holds a detailed information session at its office in Tavros (25 Martiou Street 7, 1st floor), every first and third Wednesday of each month, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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All photos courtesy of Metadrasi