Trauma-focused intervention for unaccompanied minors

There has been a major increase in the number of refugees arriving in Germany over the last years, and a significant number of them are unaccompanied minors. Many of the children have been forced to leave their parents in their countries of origin or have been separated from them while on the move.

Unaccompanied minors are at increased risk of being sexually abused and need a high level of protection. As of today,the German social system do not provide any mental healthcare for these often traumatized children. Childhood therefore supports a program for trauma-focused intervention for unaccompanied minors that initiated by a working group for psychotherapeutic research and behavioral medicine at the clinic for pediatric and youth psychiatry/psychotherapy at the University of Ulm. The program is being developed and implemented in collaboration with various authorities responsible for taking care of unaccompanied minors and thus can contribute with great expertise in the this field.

The main target group are 300 unaccompanied minors who live in child welfare services facilities. The program´s activities are group based. The group format is helpful because the experienced can be shared with others and thus makes the children feel  that they are not alone with their traumas. They can also learn from each other (about dealing with challanges like living in a foreign country away from their families, or with concentration, attention and sleeping difficulties). The central objective of the program is for the children to create a trauma narrative that enables them to reflect on their life on the move and the new life in Germany.


* 441,899 people applied for asylum in Germany in 2015. More than 50 percent of them were youngert than 18.