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Migration and Home Affairs

Call for participants: RAN Families, Communities & Social Care meeting – Dealing with returning children and their mothers from Daesh

(with input from RAN Rehabilitation, Youth & Education, Police, Local Authorities)
This digital meeting will take place via WebEx on 19 and 20 May 2021 (9.00-12.30).

For a RAN multi-meeting of the FC&S Working Group, with input from the RAN Rehabilitation, Y&E, POL and LOCAL Working Groups, we are currently looking for suitable participants. The topic of this multi-meeting is ‘Dealing with returning children and their mothers from Daesh territory’.

Background and aim of the meeting

Over the past couple of years, the issue of returning Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs) has been widely discussed. The different groups of returning FTFs is an important aspect. Currently, the question of the women and their children remaining in camps in Syria and Iraq, as well as those who have already returned, is at the forefront for many P/CVE practitioners.

In recent years, reports about the horrific conditions as well as possible formation of radicalised cells in camps have emerged. Children who are still in these camps are likely to have experienced trauma, malnutrition and/or violence. Concerns are growing that individuals will be able to escape from these camps or that the camps as such will be shut down, forcing countries to repatriate all remaining citizens, or at least the children, at once.

The question of how to deal with returning children and their mothers has been widely discussed in the past years, taking into account aspects such as regarding children as victims, a focus on resocialisation, involving (not radicalised or foster) family members as well as dealing with exposure to extremist ideology and violence (RAN Returnee Manual, 2017; RAN Issue Paper, 2016; RAN Ex Post Paper, 2016). It has become clear that there is a need for holistic reintegration and rehabilitation measures that consider challenges such as child trauma, isolation or stigmatisation.

As of right now, there is a growing expertise on how to deal with this situation. Time has passed and children and their mothers have been repatriated and reintegrated. This meeting will therefore serve as a reality check to analyse where we are at.

It aims at exploring if enough structures are in place for reintegrating and rehabilitating more children in the future. It will also discuss practices that were successful and that can help others to improve their work. We will share practical experiences for dealing with returning children and their mothers from Daesh territory.

This should feed into a conclusion paper with tangible information for first-line practitioners confronted with returning children and mothers from Daesh.

Practitioners we are looking for are:

  • Social and youth workers, local P/CVE coordinators, rehabilitation workers, prison staff, psychologists and local authorities/coordinators.
  • Participants should have experience in dealing with returning children and their mothers.
  • We encourage duos from different organisations/professions from the same city to apply.

To find the best suited participants, we would like to ask you to answer the following questions:

  • In your work, what is your experience in dealing with children and/or their mothers returning from Daesh territory?
  • From your experience, what are the main current challenges for dealing with returning children in specific?
  • Can you share inspiring approaches, projects or tools for practitioners from your country that are focused on dealing with returning children? In addition, are there any policies or protocols in your country that help you in your work with child returnees and their mothers?
  • Do you have any questions in specific that you would like to discuss and learn from during the meeting?


If you are interested in participating at this meeting, elaborate on these questions by5 May the latestand send them to Julia Handle and Fenna Keijzer.

We will invite participants based on this information. Please keep in mind that we only have a limited amount of places available for this meeting to foster exchanges, so participation is not guaranteed.

The meeting will be held digitally in English.  

If you have any further questions, please don´t hesitate to contact Julia Handle and Fenna Keijzer.