When you first arrive In Sweden and while the Migration Board looks at and decides on your asylum application, you will be in contact with a person called a "custodian". This person can be a woman or a man. Once you turn 18 or get a residence permit, this person stops being custodian for you.
The custodian is there to help you with various things. To accompany you when you meet with the Migration Agency, for example, or if you are applying for a daily allowance and are under 16 years of age. The guardian also decides how your money is to be spent, where you are to live, and all the other things that concern you but which you are too young to decide for yourself - just as a parent decides things for a child who is under 18. You always have the right to say what you think about everything to do with you, and you have the right to be listened to. This doesn't mean that you decide, but it means the guardian must consider your opinion.
The custodian is responsible for ensuring that you are enrolled at school and for keeping in contact with the school, just as a parent would. This can include participating in progress discussions at school or having a dialogue with the school about your introduction.
You can read more about custodians
on the Migration Board's pages for unaccompanied children.
A public counsel is a person who is knowledgeable about Swedish laws and who is a lawyer. He or she will help you with your asylum application. Your public counsel will also be present when you meet with the Migration Board to tell them why you are applying for asylum.
Specially appointed guardian
Once you've received a residence permit you are appointed a guardian to replace your custodian. The Social Welfare Committee in your municipality is responsible for appointing you a guardian. If you're turning 18 within the next six months, your custodian may instead be instructed to remain with you during that period.
A guardian is appointed if your parents are dead or if they are unable to look after you (because they have not come with you to Sweden, for example).
The specially appointed guardian is responsible for ensuring that your needs are met. The person must be suitable and must be able to provide care, security and a good upbringing. The guardian thus has the right and the obligation to decide on issues concerning you. You have the right to say what you think and to be listened to.
Social welfare officer and the Social Services
Unaccompanied children are entitled to the same opportunities for help and support from the social services as other children placed e.g. in foster homes or homes for care or residence (abbreviated HVB in Swedish).
The Social Services are responsible for ensuring that you get a safe and secure home, with the opportunity for support and development. The Social Services are also responsible for finding out what your needs are in terms of e.g. education, health and medical care, including dental care.
Together with you, your custodian or your guardian, and with staff at your home, the social welfare officer must draw up an implementation plan. Such a plan describes what help and support you need and how you are going to get that help and support.
You have the right to know the contents of your implementation plan and to give your opinion of it. The social welfare officer must listen to what you have to say and include your wishes in the decision. This does not mean that you will always get what you want. The social welfare officer must consider what is best for you and make a decision on that basis.
Staff at your home must help you with your everyday tasks and make sure that you feel secure. This can include help with homework, cooking, washing and leisure activities. The idea is not for the staff to do everything for you. Instead they help you with certain things, depending on how old you are, and support you in doing other things yourself. The staff can help you prepare for living on your own when you get older.
Staff must be available at the home around the clock in case you need help with something or just need to talk.
All children in Sweden have the right to attend school. At school there are many different adults. These include teachers, head teachers, special needs teacher and meals staff.
At school there are also the school health care services, which usually include a nurse and a school welfare officer.
Your class teacher must cooperate with subject teachers and native language teachers, or with the person giving you guidance in your native language, to ensure that you get the best possible education.
It is the task of the school staff, together with you, to decide what is best for you in your education.
You can read more about schools and school staff in the section
School in Sweden.
Officials at the the Migration Agency
You will meet officials working at the Migration Agency when you apply for asylum.
You will answer questions about:
- what your name is.
- when you were born.
- your family.
- your parents’ address and phone number.
- where you are from.
- which language you speak.
- how you have travelled to Sweden.
- why you have left your home country.
- how you are feeling.
The staff ask you these questions in order to register you in the Migration Agency's database. They will then continue to work on your application. It is important for the Migration Agency to know the reasons why you cannot remain in your home country, and how you are feeling now. If you don’t want to talk to the staff you don't have to. If you can’t or don’t want to say anything to the staff straight away, you can always contact the Migration Agency later. You can also contact them if anything is worrying you or if you have any questions.
Why does the staff ask questions about my family?
It is important for the Swedish Migration Board to know who your mum and dad are and where they are. The Swedish Migration Board would also like to know how they can contact them. At the Application Unit you can get help phoning your parents or other relatives to tell them where you are and how you are feeling.
You will meet various people during your leisure time.
Recreation instructors and leader work at recreation centres. They arrange various activities at the centre. You can turn to the staff if you need advice or support.
Some municipalities employ social workers to help prevent problems that may arise for young people, meaning that you can get help. Social workers are present where children and young people are: in the area where you live, in school, in recreation centres and on the internet.
Read more about social workers on www.kollpasoc.se.
Nattvandrare (night walkers) are adults you may meet during your leisure time. They move around the streets during evenings and at night in order to provide social support for young people. You can recognise night walkers by their coloured jackets.