The LITP allows for the detention of vulnerable applicants, if detention is suited to their special needs.1 Moreover, it provides for detention of unaccompanied children, although for as short a period as possible.2
In the past, asylum seeking children staying on the territory of Croatia with members of their family were placed in detention together with accompanying adults. To the knowledge of the Croatian Law Centre, this was not happening last few years, although a facility for the accommodation of children and other vulnerable groups of irregular migrants within the detention centre was built in Ježevo. According to the Ministry of Interior vulnerable asylum seekers were not detained in 2016.3
In practice, up to now most unaccompanied foreign children were placed in children and young people’s homes as an alternative to detention. Although this is an open facility, its primary function is to treat children with behavioural difficulties, so the conditions of their stay cannot be considered suitable for this group, especially when taking into account the specific needs of these children, as well as unavailability of interpreters in those institutions. In the last quarter of 2016, the Croatian Law Centre, as implementing partner of UNHCR, has started visiting Residential Child Care Institutions in order to monitor the conditions and provide unaccompanied children and their guardians with legal information. When a child accommodated in Residential Child Care Institution expresses the intention to lodge an application for asylum, he or she is transferred to the Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers and not to a detention centre.