The Institution was established in 1924 with the name "Protection of women and children in detention". It was an initiative of the National Council of Greek Women, with the first major donor being Emmanuel Benakis. In 1972 the Association changed its name to the current “Society for the Care of Minors” while accordingly adjusting its purpose and services provided. Over time the work and activities of the Society have been adjusted in order to meet specific social needs with specialized, up-to-date and quality services which respect human rights and provide a family type environment. To date over 2500 young people of different nationalities and social needs have passed through the centre.
The purpose of the Society is the provision of welfare, care and support to 17 unaccompanied teenagers and children from countries affected by war and natural disasters. Each foster person acquires a residence and work permit, as well as the necessary training and help so as to easily integrate into Greek society, in case the family reunification cannot be completed. The aim of the organization is to cover the needs of guests in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, relevant laws and agreements of the European Union and any relevant recommendations and guidelines of the European Commission.
The Centre for Unaccompanied Minors is a Qualified Institution in the Sector of Secondary Social Care (Decision No. 10048/17.10.2011 of the Region of Attica). It is also certified as a "Non-Governmental Organization with expertise in managing irregular migration issues" (Document Ref No. 11.3/285- 24/01/2014 of the Ministry of Public Order and Citizen Protection). The Society’s Administration Board is comprised of seven members who are elected to a three-year term. The Board members are not remunerated for their services.
Membership fees, donations and sponsorships constitute the main sources of funding. Since 2009 the main part of the Centre’ s costs is covered by the European Refugee Fund with the support, supervision and control of the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Welfare, which also monitors the quality of the services provided. During the last years, the annual cost per person hosted mounts to 9.500€.
The Society for the Care of Minors collaborates with other organizations and public services in order to cover the guests’ nutrition and housing needs, as well as to provide children with psychological and social support, legal assistance, educational support, recreational and educational opportunities and vocational counseling, in view of them becoming independent adults. In this sense, the Society is building up partnerships through either informal or formal networks of collaborators, both being equally important for its operation.
The Society for the Care of Minors considers Voluntary Work as a service of great altruism and solidarity among people, especially when this concerns minors, who are deprived of their families. Since its establishment the Society relies on the voluntary work and the generous sponsorship of many sensitive citizens. The Society has gained valuable experience due the cooperation with the volunteers, who are usually, trained and long term collaborators and provide high standard services.