Individual accompaniment to autonomy
Each year, many unaccompanied foreign minors leave the hosting centers after obtaining a status allowing them to remain in Belgium. Some of them then go through a third phase of hosting, until they live in a house supervised by an educator. Mentor-Escale currently has 24 available places for this welcome in the third phase.
After their passage in the hosting system, all young people with the possibility to stay on the Belgian territory should live in autonomous mode in our country. Mentor-Escale continues to support the different stages of their new life in Belgium. Indeed, it is necessary to find a house, go to school, have food, dress and find their place in the Belgian society without parents to support them.
Individual follow-up with targets the accompaniment of young people in their journey towards autonomy by giving them an active role in the steps taken in order to enable them to develop a life project and become actors in the whole part of the society.
The young people are supported by a multidisciplinary team made up of social workers, educators and a psychologist.
When they leave the hosting centers, the UMs are faced with numerous administrative paperwork, they have to learn how to use their budget, to know the city, to understand the functioning of health care, and so on. Social assistants accompany young people in the different procedures, adapting to the degree of autonomy of each one.
Little by little, teenagers will be able to acquire tools to enable them to face the difficulties of the daily life.
One of the major stakes of this work is to make emerge the skills which the young people have and make them be aware of them. They are able to gain more self-confidence and empower themselves.
Most of Unaccompanied Foreign Minors have experienced many traumatic events. Psychological follow-up is sometimes necessary to enable them to progress.
In order to cope with the significant psychological suffering of some of our young people, while awaiting the difficulty of referring him to an extra-mural psychologist, a psychologist specializing in working with the UMs is present one day a week at the antenna of Mentor-Escale.
Young people who wish can beneficiate from an individual ethno-psychological accompaniment. The aim is to help people better understand the psychological difficulties associated with their lives and their mental and social well-being.
Scholarship and formation
Scholarship and formation is a fundamental process to enable the UMs to be inserted into the society. Each teenager is accompanied by Mentor-Escale is therefore followed up by a scholar referent. It’s that person who analyzes together with the young person his/her situation and to see his/her wishes and needs. He informs him/her about the functioning of the education system and formation in Belgium. Together they establish a study or formation. If it’s necessary, the referent can also facilitate enrollment of the young person in a school with quality.
The scholar referent assures as well a follow up all along the young person’s scholarship. He/she takes care of identifying with this young person faced difficulties and also solutions to solve them.
Finally, a team of volunteers is permanently available to help pupils with their homework.
In order to prepare the young people to live in autonomy, Mentor-Escale has 24 places in supervised homes (20 places according to the convention “Third Phase for Hosting” of Fedasil and 4 places financed by the Ministry of Aid to the Youth).
Accommodation in transit apartments gives to the young people a close support. This intermediary step takes place after the UMs have come out of the hosting centers and helps to prepare them to living alone in Belgium.
An educator is present on a regular basis in the young person’s home. This is to help the young people in order to bring them to progressively adopt the best dietary habit or life hygiene, to integrate various social codes and to a better usage of the outdoor services (shopping, public transport, laundry places, bank, etc).
The chosen pedagogical orientation consists in letting the young people find their own solutions in order to guarantee the durability and functionality.
To look for a home
After passage into the transit home (3rd phase), the UMs must find their own house.
Social Assistants teach the UMs who wish how to look for an apartment (via media, internet, the announcements posted on the streets, etc.) and can accompany them in different steps of their process (telephone contact, visiting of apartment, signature of rent contract,…) The young people also have access to a computer with internet connection and can use the telephone to contact the landlords.
The social assistants are also present to give assurance to the landlords by explaining to them that the young people are supported and aren’t left to themselves.
If it is possible, with the agreement of the young person, once this one is settled, a social assistant or an educator goes to his/her home in order to check his/her living conditions in order to give him/her some advices regarding how to manage his/her daily life.
In reflection of the work of the social assistant, volunteers manage a help desk for home seeking for two hours per week. During that time, they help the young people to search for an apartment.
Support to parents
Some young girls that we support are, despite their young age, pregnant or already mothers. A specific follow up is therefore suggested to them.
We suggest to the future moms an accompaniment to preparation to birth services (gynecologist, therapist, wise-women, etc) which are most adapted to their situation. Then, in order to enable them to follow the functioning of multiple services of the small childhood, we accompany those who wish in searching for the baby-care houses, nursery schools, holiday stages, or for their consultation with the ONE, the pediatric doctors, general doctors, etc.
We ensure that there is good understanding of the functioning of those institutions for the mothers we follow up and assure a dialogue between young women and the different services that can help them.