Round table on care leaders held in Rome | Photo:
Round table on care leaders held in Rome | Photo:

A project called Leaving Care supports young migrants who are forced to leave the Italian hosting system once they turn 18 -- an estimated 3,000 in Italy. The project, which involves 201 operators who have been specifically trained for the purpose, was presented at a round table in Rome on February 11 promoted by the organization SOS Villaggio dei Bambini.

Young migrants living in communities and foster families in Italy are forced to leave the hosting system that has supported them when they turn 18, risking poverty, social exclusion and exploitation.

They are the so-called 'care leavers', an estimated 3,000 youths in Italy and 64 million globally. This delicate phase is at the center of a project called Leaving Care, funded by the organization SOS Villaggio dei Bambini in collaboration with the directorate-general for justice of the European Commission.

The project was created with the aim of providing training to operators who prepare the youths for this transition period and who support them throughout this phase. A round table called ''Paths to autonomy: experiences and results with care leavers'" was held on February 11 at the Italian Committee for UNICEF in Rome, promoted by SOS Villaggi dei Bambini.

Project to support care leavers

Thanks to the project, 201 operators have been trained in the regions of Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto, Trentino, Lazio and Sicily.

The operators received specific training on themes including labor law, education and housing. The young 'care leaver' migrants were also involved in the training and participated by helping create a program for operators that reflected the challenges they faced once they had to leave the system.

Roberta Capella, the director of SOS Villaggi dei Bambini, said ''care leavers are youths who are starting to build their present and plan their future. Our task is to guide them through this delicate transition phase." 

"Leaving Care focused on the support and preparation provided to youths as they leave the system," she explained. Professionals need to involve care leavers ''to build with them a project of hospitality and transition towards autonomy."

Operators in the project also received training in law, psychology as well as methodological skills in order to support care leavers as they gradually adjust to their new life, helping them navigate new experiences as they look for a job and for new living arrangements.

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