Call for Papers: Unaccompanied Minors in Europe (May 31)


Against the background of the current situation and debate about refugee and migration politics throughout Europe, the intended special issue aims to map the situation of unaccompanied minors in various European countries.

It is our aim to provide an overview which on the one hand depicts the different European countries as specific cases illustrating how unaccompanied underage refugees are officially allowed and able to enter Europe and stay here. On the other hand, in order to both gain knowledge and develop alternative ideas on how social policy and social work approaches can deal with unaccompanied minors, it seems crucial to contribute to a better framework for comparing various European countries with regard to their legal frameworks, policy program structures, clearing practices and care arrangements when it comes to providing support for unaccompanied minors. Another aim is to identify and compare research biases and desiderata regarding the situation of unaccompanied minors in European countries.

To allow for such comparison, we request that all contributors to this special issue structure their papers along the following lines:

1. Basic data on unaccompanied minors
a) What is the country’s definition of unaccompanied minors (if applicable)?
b) How many unaccompanied minors are there? If possible, please report which sub-groups of unaccompanied minors can be distinguished (gender? age? nationalities? etc.)
c) Have there been any clear trends regarding those sub-groups during the last ten years?
d) What characterizes unaccompanied minors in comparison with their same-age peers born in the host country? (e.g. education, health)

2. Legal framework and/or policy program structure
a) If any, what kinds of laws and/or (social) policy programs specifically address the phenomenon of unaccompanied minors? To what extent do you perceive them as typical or nontypical for the country’s (social) policy structure?
b) Have there been any recent changes to those laws and/or programs? Did the UN Children’s Rights Convention play any obvious part in this? What other political factors might have played a part in this?

3. Clearing practices and care arrangements
a) To what extent does the country’s legal framework and/or program structure seem to fit with the clearing practices and care arrangements for unaccompanied minors?
b) What specific procedures are in place to identify unaccompanied minors and their needs? Who is responsible for dealing with unaccompanied minors?
c) What types of care arrangements exist for unaccompanied minors? (e.g. foster care, residential care or other equivalents; please also mention any other sort of care you know of, e.g. specific counseling or support programs for unaccompanied minors)
d) Is there any data on how the unaccompanied minors experience these care arrangements?
e) At what age do the unaccompanied minors regularly leave the given care arrangements? Are they being prepared for leaving the care arrangements, and if so, how?
f) Is there any data on the care leavers’ situation after leaving care, e.g. one year, three or five years later?

4. Research overview & required research
 Concerning the specific country, who does research on what aspects of the topic of unaccompanied minors? What further research is needed from your point of view? What are the major challenges to researching this topic?

Information for authors:
The SW&S Journal is an open-access online journal for social work and social policy. As an international journal the SW&S Journal uses English as its standard language. Special-issue articles comprise 5000–8000 words. A preformatted SW & S template can be found here:

 If you are interested in contributing to this special issue please e-mail your expression of interest to Philipp Sandermann ( & Maren Zeller ( by May 31, 2016 along with some information on your expertise in the requested area.
 Full papers will be due by October 16, 2016.
 Revisions will be possible in January/February 2017.
 The special issue will be published in spring 2017.