By International Social Service, the Global Social Work Organization
ISS - 100 Years : The story of Fatoumata, the journey of an unaccompanied minor fleeing Côte d'Ivoire to reunite with her parents in France.

The story of Fatoumata, the journey of an unaccompanied minor fleeing Côte d’Ivoire to reunite with her parents in France.

Fatoumata was 14 years old when she was forced into a marriage with a man in his 50s, in Ivory Coast, her country of origin. Unfortunately, Fatoumata suffered a great deal of physical and sexual abuse. She decided to inform her parents, who were living in France. The parents were of course very angry to learn about the dramatic situation in which their daughter had ended up.  They decided to find a way for her to join them in France.

Fatoumata began a migratory journey that took her first to Turkey where, by decision of a judge, she was recognized as an unaccompanied minor and placed in a home to ensure her protection.

The Turkish national child protection authorities, in charge of Fatoumata’s case, confirmed the presence of her parents in Paris. They decided to reach out to ISS Turkey to investigate the possibility for Fatoumata to reunite with her parents.

ISS Turkey decided to contact ISS France, Droit d’Enfance, to organize a home assessment. Subsequently, ISS France got in touch with the local “Cellule de Recueil et de Traitement des Informations Préoccupantes” (CRIP) unit, responsible for gathering and assessing all worrying information relating to a minor in danger or at risk of being so. In this case, after carrying out the actual home assessment and collecting all the necessary information, the CRIP advised for Fatoumata to reintegrate into her family home in France with a possibility for an appropriate childcare and parenting support.

ISS France then reached out to the UNHCR which, after analysing the provided information, gave a positive recommendation for family reunification.

Subsequently, ISS France contacted the local organisation providing support to the parents and advised them on the procedures to be followed to obtain family reunification.

At the same time, ISS France contacted Foreign Affairs to explain Fatoumata’s situation and follow up on the delays in obtaining the visa. They also ensured that local social services were able to follow up Fatoumata as soon as she arrived in France.

Once the family reunification agreement was officially approved, ISS France asked ISS Turkey to arrange and support the journey from Turkey to France of Fatoumata.

Finally, as soon as Fatoumata arrived in France, she was happily reunited with her family.



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