Unaccompanied children cannot be detained in Italy, however children migrating with their families or guardians can be detained.
Unaccompanied children may still be housed in secure accommodation centres for identification and age determination purposes in dedicated “first aid” facilities (centri di prima accoglienza a loro destinati). Age assessment techniques used in Italy have also been significantly critised for being inaccurate. De facto detention of children at “hotspots’ is also common.
A new national law was passed in 2017, aiming to guarantee the rights of unaccompanied children and provide a standard procedure. This legislation sets Italy up as a world leader on this issue, and implementation will be keenly assessed in years to come.