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Between protection and exclusion: Separated child migrants' care relationships and caring practice


This research aims to both analyse, and provide ways to address, one of the greatest global challenges of our time: the care and well-being of children affected by transnational displacement and migration.


Sarah Crafter, Open University (Principal Investigator)
Eleanor Ott, University of Oxford 
Helen Stalford, University of Liverpool
Ravi Kohli, University of Bedfordshire    
Rachel Rosen, University College London
Evangelia Prokopiou, University of Northampton
Elaine Chase, University College London
Veena Meetoo, University College London


This project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).


Our pilot studies demonstrate that a crucial way separated migrant children survive the challenges of migration and settlement is through the care they provide and receive from other migrant children. 

Little is known about separated children's care for each other as they navigate contradictory, complex, and changeable immigration and welfare systems. Nor do we know how separated children's care for each other is understood and treated by relevant adult stakeholders, including social workers, foster carers, educators, youth workers, religious leaders, legal professionals, and policy makers. Our pilot studies indicate this neglect means that policies and practices designed to support separated child migrants can end up harming, excluding or discriminating against them. 

Placing separated children at its heart, this study asks: What are separated child migrants' experiences of care and caring for others? How do various economic, social and political factors shape the care priorities of relevant stakeholders? What are the theoretical, policy, and practice implications of varying understandings and practices of care? This project has been designed by a multidisciplinary research team in collaboration with a range of local and national charities including Refugee Youth and MEENA (for migrant children and women in Birmingham), and involves the Refugee Council, Coram Children's Legal Project, and Barnardo's.

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Sarah Crafter