#BOURE Webinar Series: Unaccompanied and separated children in their transition to adulthood in Italy 

UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti
Global Development Commons (GDC)
Publication Year:
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


Thank you for participating in the Global Development Commons (GDC), the UNICEF Evaluation Office and Office of Research-Innocenti for the #BOURE2020 webinar series presenting the research winning study:

At a crossroads. Unaccompanied and separated children in their transition to adulthood in Italy

 On Thursday, 25 March 2021 | 11:00 EDT | 16:00 CET.

How do unaccompanied and separated children reach adulthood in Italy?


Watch the webinar recording:



  • Sarah Martelli, Youth & Adolescent Development Specialist, Migrant & Refugee Response, UNICEF Regional Office for Europe & Central Asia
  • Emanuela Bonini, Researcher - Project Manager, ISMU Foundation (Initiatives & Studies on MUltiethnicity)



  • Giuseppe Lococo, Protection Associate, Representation for Italy, the Holy See & San Marino
  • Laura Bartolini, DTM Focal Point & Researcher, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean



  • Kerry AlbrightChief, Research Facilitation & Knowledge Management, UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti
  • Josiah Kaplan, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti
  • Emanuela Bianchera, Project Manager, Best of UNICEF Research, UNICEF Office of Research Innocenti



From 2014 to 2018, more than 70,000 unaccompanied and separated children arrived in Italy by sea. Ninety per cent of them were aged 15–17 years, and many have since reached the legal threshold of adulthood – their 18th birthday – in Italy. Such a significant presence of current and former unaccompanied and separated children demands a better understanding of how to ensure their protection and social inclusion as they transition to adulthood. 

This research, commissioned by UNICEF, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), presents an overview of trends and possible pathways to adult life for this group of children in Italy. Rather than applying a simplistic age threshold, the research introduces the concept of ‘triple transition’: the transition from adolescence to adulthood; the dislocating transition of migration; and the transition to overcoming traumas experienced during or after the journey.

Recognizing children’s right to participate in decisions affecting them, and taking care to protect their best interests, the study engaged former unaccompanied and separated children in the role of interviewers. This participative approach led to a comprehensive understanding of the multiplicity of situations, subjective difficulties, structural bottlenecks and support factors that determine their transition to adulthood. 

The research further identified best practices in protection, care and social inclusion that could be supported by United Nations agencies, Italian and European institutions, and civil society.

Research SummaryOriginal Report 
Research Video: 
Visit the #BOURE2020 Microsite.

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