Germany sets up hotline connecting refugee kids with legal help, mentors

Germany's family minister is calling on the country's citizens to volunteer to mentor some 59,000 refugee children who came to the country without parents in 2015.

Manuela Schwesig says a free hotline was activated Tuesday to help Germans connect with unaccompanied minors from Syria and other countries.

The minister said refugee children and teenagers need lots of help with practical matters, legal questions, in school and everyday support. She said even before the hotline was activated, many Germans had signaled they wanted to help the children.

Prospective mentors must undergo police checks.

Some unaccompanied children are fostered in Germany, but many live together in special centers. Germany saw an influx of some 1.1 million asylum-seekers in 2015.