RefugePoint believes that family unity, a fundamental human right, should be accessible to refugees no matter where they come from or where their families are located. We work to expand solutions to reunite refugee families and make family reunification more accessible to refugees worldwide.
Refugees fleeing their home countries are often separated from family and loved ones along the way. Those fortunate enough to trace the whereabouts of lost family members often remain separated by international borders and restrictive immigration laws. As a result, countless refugees, discouraged by the enormous hurdles preventing reunification, decide to move on with the assistance of smugglers, often risking human trafficking, violence, detention, and possibly death.
Since its founding, RefugePoint has helped families reunite and focused on supporting unaccompanied and separated children. This work includes deploying staff to multiple countries around the world to help children and other separated family members to reunite, training other organizations, and building a global network to advance family reunion.
In addition to casework, RefugePoint plays a leading role in global policy conversations related to family reunification. In collaboration with UNHCR, RefugePoint spearheaded the creation of the Global Family Reunification Network (FRUN), the first global platform devoted to family reunification for refugees. The Global FRUN draws together key stakeholders, experts and academics to promote and facilitate greater access to family reunification globally. Through a deployment to UNHCR Headquarters, we staff the secretariat of the Global FRUN and its Advisory Group. We have also deployed Experts to critical policy positions in UNHCR’s Europe Bureau and their Germany operation.
Between 2019 and 2022, RefugePoint partnered with UNHCR and the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) to help refugee minors and youth along the Central Mediterranean migration path reunite with family members in Europe and other Western countries. We created systems to identify eligible refugees, coordinated with partners, advocated with destination governments, conducted child protection assessments and generally acted as case managers for all necessary steps in the family reunification process.
RefugePoint is using its learning from these efforts to deepen its commitment to family reunification work. Over the next five years (2023-2027) RefugePoint will mainstream our family reunification program with a vision of ensuring family reunification is accessible to refugees globally. We plan to:
Establish presence in a growing number of host countries to support refugee family reunification casework.
Expand NGO capacity to conduct refugee family reunification casework and pilot additional methods to support access to family reunification, and pursuing opportunities to scale and sustain the methods that are most promising.
Advocate for inclusion of family unity as a foundational principle in all new and existing pathways, such as labor mobility.
RefugePoint Family Reunification staff conduct direct casework to increase access to family reunification for refugees. This includes conducting case management, identifying refugees separated from loved ones, completing best interest assessments and determinations for unaccompanied children, providing timely interventions such as referrals to partners to address protection-related needs and legal service needs, and otherwise supporting refugees until they reach the point of departure.
This casework allows refugees to be reunited with their loved ones through safe, organized, and legal pathways. Additionally, we work to ensure refugees have access to reliable information that empowers them to make informed decisions and pursue their legal rights to family reunification.
As of 2023, 1,368 refugees were supported by RefugePoint to reunite.Click to read more
We work around the world to identify refugees who have been forcibly separated from their families and reunite them in safe, new countries.
RefugePoint Experts have trained 4,118 UNHCR and other partner staff on child protection.Click to read more
RefugePoint’s Family Reunification Experts help establish family reunification at the local level by developing the tools, systems, and structures necessary to institutionalize family reunification in countries of asylum, and providing training and capacity-building to other organizations to expand access to family reunification.
RefugePoint aims to support and equip partners in order to increase capacity and improve technical expertise to identify and refer family reunification cases, with a focus on mobilizing Refugee-Led Organizations (RLOs) engaged in this work.
The Family Reunification Initiative aims to create a global, scalable system that expands access to family reunification for refugees, including unaccompanied and separated children.
The Family Reunification Initiative
Through the Family Reunification Initiative, RefugePoint will play a leadership role in helping to reunite one million separated refugee families over the next five years. A focus of the initiative will be supporting unaccompanied refugee children to reunite with their parents and other family members.
RefugePoint has long served as a leader to advance Family Reunification pathways. Through this new initiative, RefugePoint aims to build on that role by directly supporting family reunification from at least three countries, facilitating global dialogue on family unity, convening stakeholders, centering refugee leadership, catalyzing systems change, collaborating across the Family Reunification ecosystem, and contributing to efforts to measure progress.
To reunite the thousands of refugees who have been separated from their families, global systems change is necessary.
At the global level, RefugePoint is engaging in systems building to ensure that family reunification is prioritized in the refugee response system and easier for more refugees to access. RefugePoint staff in the U.S., Geneva, and elsewhere conduct high-level advocacy and engagement to influence global and regional policy, including through the Global Family Reunification Network (FRUN).