The first steps towards a European Guardianship Network were taken in 2005, resulting in project initiated by Nidos (NL) and Refugium e.V. (DE). EGN started in 2008 as a project funded by the European Commission European Refugee Fund (ERF). Its aim was to improve services for unaccompanied and separated children in the Member States of the European Union through guardianship development and assistance to practitioners and their organisations. The project emphasised the importance of a representative taking parental responsibility for safeguarding the rights and wellbeing of children and promoted guardianship as an instrument to this end. Several projects on guardianship and sub-themes around guardianship have been completed since, financed by the European Commission and the European Programme for Integration and Migration, among others. Organisations participate on a project basis.
Until 2019, the network consisted of several projects, aiming at developing the quality and quantity of and knowledge about guardianship. Projects were set up by different alliances of organisations. At the beginning of 2019 the network was transformed to a more formal, member-based structure, based on recent developments in the EU and in several Member States towards more professionalism in guardianship. The network will enable further professionalisation of guardianship systems in the EU, thus further improving the outcome for the unaccompanied and separated children in the system.