The Child-and-Youth Friendly Spaces (CFS) is an internationally recognized Child Protection Program, developed and implemented by Save the Children in different settings around the world whenever children find themselves in collective shelters, due to forced migration. The program includes numerous activities of advocacy, modelization and dissemination of Best Practices to ensure the implementation of minimum standards for reception conditions for minors on the move.
In Switzerland, Save the Children launched the Pilot Phase of the CFS Project in 2016-2018 inside 3 Federal Reception Centers in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, in collaboration with SEM and ORS Service AG and AOZ, offering psychosocial support through arts and other educational activities for more than 1’000 accompanied and unaccompanied minors of whom the majority under the age of 6. During the first two years of the Pilot Phase, all artistic and educational activities – painting, drawing, murals, crafting, crafting music instruments, singing, and dancing, the promotion of basic language and numeracy skills through the arts, games, health-promotion, and hygiene activities – run 5 days per week (5 hours per day), focused on the social, cognitive, and emotional development of minors and fostered their participation and inclusion. Recognized by SEM as a model of success for the psychosocial support and promotion of the social, emotional, cognitive and motor development of refugee and asylum-seeking minors; replicable and adaptable in all reception and transit centers nationwide; CFS and regular activities for children are mandatory by the SEM in all Federal asylum shelters since 2019. Till today, Save the Children supported the set-up of CFSs in 19 Federal and Cantonal asylum shelters, to offer minors on the move a safe, secure and child-friendly space to regain, through artistic creation, their right to childhood, and with a smile, the joy of living and the hope of a better future.