Special Joint Issue on Children on the Move
February 2018

"One problem is that we're lonely, far away from our families. We have to deal with that thought and focus our attention on something else."

- from 'Young People in Reception Centres'


This special issue of the Better Care Network newsletter, published jointly with the Initiative for Child Rights in the Global Compacts, highlights the work of the Initiative to ensure the Global Compacts on Migration and Refugees are child-focused and grounded on the rights of children. In this issue, we present recent materials and documents produced by the Initiative and its partners. We also include other resources related particularly to unaccompanied or separated child migrants and refugees, as well as the prevention of family separation in the process of migration and displacement. 

As the world continues to see record numbers of migrants and refugees moving across borders, or becoming internally displaced within their own countries, we will also continue to see children traveling without their parents or caregivers and families becoming separated in transit or upon arrival. Therefore, we present the following resources and information in this issue of the BCN newsletter in the hope that those working in the fields of children's care and child rights may draw from the learning presented here and apply it to their own work at local, national, regional, or global levels.

Florence Martin
Director, Better Care Network

Delphine Moralis, Terre des Hommes
Co-Chair, Initiative for Child Rights in the Global Compacts

Daniela Reale, Save the Children
Co-Chair, Initiative for Child Rights in the Global Compacts


The  New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, the outcome of the September 2016 UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants, expressed the political will of world leaders to save lives, protect rights and share responsibility on a global scale. It contains important commitments to children, as well as plans for the adoption in 2018 of a 'Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration' and a 'Global Compact on Refugees'. These global agreements are a once in a generation opportunity for world leaders to agree to a better and more cooperative response to moving across borders that can protect people.

The Initiative

The Initiative for Child Rights in the Global Compacts is a partnership of 30 agencies, including civil society, UN, intergovernmental agencies, philanthropic organisations, trade Unions and individual experts. It is co-chaired by  Terre des Hommes and  Save the Children, and was established to ensure that these new global agreements on migration and refugees are child-focused and grounded on the rights of children as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and other relevant international standards to establish a continuum of care, protection and support for children on the move. 


Since launching in  January 2017, the Initiative has published detailed recommendations of goals, targets and indicators for all areas of child rights that governments committed to in the New York Declaration. These have been widely consulted on and adopted following the convening of the Initiative's Global Conference on Children on the Move in  June 2017Following the release of the zero drafts of the two Compacts in February 2018, the content is now being negotiated by governments. Members of the Initiative are actively engaged in exchanges in capitals and at the UN to provide those drafting the compacts, and the governments negotiating them, with language and arguments for real, operational actions that can concretely be implemented and monitored, through the lens of children's rights. The initial draft of the Global Compact for Migration contained many of the recommendations that the Initiative is calling for. The draft Program of Action of the Compact for Refugees also includes some of the Initiative's recommendations, particularly on prioritizing the best interests of the child. However, more work is needed in the next months.

The Global Compacts and Children's Care

The Initiative is lobbying for children's human rights to be upheld and respected in six key areas of child rights outlined in the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, namely 1) non-discrimination and integration; 2) ensuring the priority of the best interests of the child; 3) ensuring children's access to services; 4) ending child immigration detention; 5) promoting durable solutions; and 6) child protection.

Although the global compacts will not be legally binding, and whilst commitments will be phased and long-term, if governments commit to what the Initiative is calling for, this could significantly change the way governments approach and operationalize the care and protection of children on the move for the better.
A number of the Initiative's recommendations are of direct relevance to professionals in the care sector, for example calling on governments to:
  • ensure pathways for regular migration that keep families together and respect every child's right to family;
  • ensure that best interests will be a primary consideration in all matters concerning refugee and migrant children, whether they are accompanied or unaccompanied;
  • promote the inclusion of refugee and migrant children in host communities;
  • end immigration detention of children and develop effective community-based care arrangements and non-custodial solutions that respect children's rights;
  • strengthen national child protection systems, ensuring child protection from time of arrival, putting child protection authorities in the lead, not immigration enforcement where children are concerned; and
  • strengthening cross-border collaboration of child protection authorities along migratory routes.
Looking Ahead

With the second round of negotiations underway, and several months of discussions ahead before governments agree on final text, the Initiative for Child Rights in the Global Compacts has work to do to ensure governments put child rights before politics so that these agreements can make a positive difference for children on the move.

By bringing together civil society, UN and other international agencies, trade unions and key experts, the Initiative is bringing forward a strong, unified, whole-of-society voice that calls governments to ensure children are protected, wherever they are, wherever they are from. This unified action, striving to increase the protection of children on the move, will reach beyond the signing of the agreements. There will be an important role to play in the review, follow-up, implementation and capacity building after the global compacts are adopted.

Those who want to contribute to advocating for child rights in the Global Compacts can contact the Initiative at info@childrenonthemove.org.

Resources from the Initiative for Child Rights in the Global Compacts

The Global Compact for Migration: Actionable Commitments for Children on the Move
This document from the Initiative for Child Rights in the Global Compacts lays out recommended actionable commitments for the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. It was prepared for the stocktaking meeting held in Puerto Vallarta on 4 to 6 December 2017. The document outlines means of implementation and partnerships involved in about 14 separate actionable commitments, including those focused on:
  • Expanding family reunification and other safe and regular pathways for children and families
  • Global operational guidelines for protecting children in vulnerable situations
  • Sustainable solutions including decisions on integration or returns
  • Cross-border cooperation of child protection authorities along key migratory routes
  • Legislation, policies and practices to prioritize the best interests of the child
  • Access to and standards for appropriate care
  • Immigration detention 
  • And more
This four-page document is a synthesis of the working document entitled " Child Rights in the Global Compacts: Recommendations for protecting, promoting and implementing the human rights of children on the move in the proposed Global Compacts ," drafted by the Steering Committee of the Initiative for Child Rights in the Global Compacts. The working document draws upon the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), provisions in international law and other frameworks to put forth proposed goals, targets and indicators for inclusion in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Global Compact for Refugees. This synthesis of the working document aims to: (a) outline the six thematic areas around which the working document is structured; and (b) present the proposed goals and targets in each thematic area. 

During this webinar on Wednesday, March 22, 2017, Save the Children's Daniela Reale and Terres des Hommes' Ignacio Packer provided an update on the Initiative for Child Rights in the Global Compacts and its work to date with a view of exploring how its work can be catalytic to a broader action for the support of children's rights in the upcoming national, regional and global processes. IOM's Director of Migration Policy and Research Department, Michele Klein Solomon provided an update on the process of development of the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and UNHCR Ellen Hansen, Senior Policy Advisor, outlined the progress to date on the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework.

During this webinar on Thursday, May 11th, 2017, the second in the series of webinars organized by the Initiative for Child Rights in the Global Compacts, two experts Mike Dottridge and Professor Jacqueline Bhabha outlined their current work on one of the key outputs of the initiative: a working document entitled "Child Rights in the Global Compact". This report lays out goals, targets and indicators - reflecting and building on the goals and targets in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - through which key commitments to child rights outlined in the New York Declaration can be operationalized across both global compacts.

This one-page handout explains how and why the Initiative was formed and the key areas and components on which it is built. It also lists the members of the partnership and highlights the goals of the Initiative. The handout is available in English, Spanish, and French.

The Focus Section brings together research and other documentation published over the past year or two on a particular theme or region. Its aim is to draw attention to the growing body of knowledge developing on the issue and help busy practitioners keep abreast of learning and changes.

In this Call to Action, UNICEF, UNHCR, IOM, Eurostat and OECD show how crucial data are to understanding the patterns of global migration and developing policies to support vulnerable groups like children. The Call to Action confirms alarming holes in the availability, reliability, timeliness and accessibility of data and evidence that are essential for understanding how migration and forcible displacement affect children and their families.

Recent large-scale movements of refugees and migrants have drawn attention to the need for global and coordinated action for peaceful, orderly and comprehensive approaches to refugees and migrants. This report from UNICEF highlights initiatives underway that work towards achieving this goal - initiatives that can be replicated around the world. The case studies presented are examples of how the UNICEF six-point Agenda for Action - which includes  keeping families together as the best way to protect children and give children legal status - can be implemented to provide a safe home, a safe passage and a safe destination for every child.

This report provides essential data and information on educational challenges faced by nearly 50 million uprooted children around the world. Whether they are refugees, internally displaced people or migrants, the report concludes, uprooted children are still children who have a right to education - and the safety, stability and opportunity that education can provide.  The report highlights the needs of unaccompanied children and young people and their heightened vulnerability to exploitation, abuse, and trafficking. Furthermore, according to the report, a recent survey of children moving across the Central Mediterranean route to Europe indicated that many of the unaccompanied adolescents surveyed had been out of school for more than a year.

This chapter from the book 'A long way to go: Irregular migration patterns, processes, drivers and decision-making,' discusses the global trends in the migration of unaccompanied minors (UAMs) in recent years. "This chapter presents the findings of a qualitative study funded by the 2012-13 Irregular Migration Research Small Grants Programme. The study aimed to address the following research questions: (1) Why do UAMs leave their parents/guardians or other family members and engage in irregular maritime migration?, (2) Who makes the choice of destination country and what factors influence this choice?, (3) How do UAMs travel between source, transit and destination countries?, (4) What are the experiences of UAMs in transit countries?"

These series of 6 papers are the second edition of the child rights bridging papers for the Civil Society Days of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (Dhaka, Bangladesh, 8 to 10 December 2016). It examines specificities affecting children on the move and other children affected by migration. Papers in the series include: (1)  Leave no one behind: the first year of the SDGs for children on the move and other children affected by migration, (2)  Engagement of diaspora and migrant associations: A child rights perspective, (3)  Migrants stranded in distress: A child rights perspective, (4)  Rights of migrant women: A child rights perspective, (5)  Interaction of international mechanisms of migrants' rights protection: A child rights perspective, (6)  Labour rights for migrant workers: A child rights perspective.  Each one of the six bridging papers is structured in a similar way with 6 to 8 key recommendations for action.

Europe & North Africa

This report from UNICEF provides an overview of the migrant and refugee crisis in Europe, including key highlights, statistics, and other data. According to the report, 1 in 4 arrivals to Europe in 2017 were children and over 158,000 children sought asylum in Europe from January to November 2017. The report provides a summary analysis and describes program response in individual countries, including Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Turkey, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, and Germany.

Negotiating developmental projects: Unaccompanied Afghan refugee boys in Norway
Informed by a cultural psychological approach to development, the authors of this study from the journal of Childhood analyzed interviews with 18 unaccompanied Afghan boys and their professional caregivers. 'Establishing a liveable life in Norway' and 'helping the family in the country of origin' were analyzed as central developmental projects for the boys, the former actively supported by the caregivers, the latter typically not. Considering what each individual is trying to achieve and how their projects are received by significant others sheds light on the boys' struggles, as well as their coping.

This research, published in the Children and Youth Services Review, aimed to describe and compare three new second-level intervention models in Italy. This work used a case study method through secondary data and individual interviews conducted using a semi-structured questionnaire with key informants (projects representatives, social workers, educators, volunteer guardians, and foster mothers). This article contributes to the growth of the literature, and it can provide interesting suggestions for new intervention models regarding the care of unaccompanied migrant minors.

Young People in Reception Centres
The article collection 'Young people in reception centres' from the Finnish Youth Research Society presents how the young people applying for asylum in Finland, and the people working with them, experience the first few months that follow a young person's arrival in Finland. Many of the articles focus on unaccompanied minors. This is a multi-voiced collection of articles where the lives of young asylum seekers are analyzed by both researchers and those working with the young people.  

This paper from Revista Interdisciplinar da Mobilidade Humana (REMHU) attempts to highlight and discuss some critical issues regarding unaccompanied migrant minors (UAMs) in Europe. The paper finds that there is often a discrepancy between the rights of migrant children, according to the international legislation, and the actual protection they receive. Moreover, despite the declared aim of reaching a common standard of reception and inclusion, policies and practices across Europe are still very different. Over and beyond the need for the EU to develop a common framework, greater efforts should be made in order to improve inclusion of UAMs, especially to ensure the management of the phenomenon beyond the current emergency.

This report from the European Social Network aims to address some common and key themes emerging from a questionnaire and in-person meeting to discuss the role of the social service workforce in the inclusion of migrant children and young people. Section one describes the main difficulties in the reception of migrant children in Europe, such as the conditions at the 'hotspots', age-assessment, and preventing child-trafficking. Section two focuses on care and support for unaccompanied children, specifically access to key services, such as accommodation, healthcare and education and the coordination of these services through a guardian. Section three also analyses services access but with a focus on migrant families, while section four focuses on the role played by education and labour market integration in the transition to adulthood of unaccompanied migrant young people.

This article from the Education Sciences & Society journal explores the inclusion of unaccompanied migrant children reaching Italy without their parents or a legal guardian. It aims at presenting the results of a qualitative research conducted in Rome in 2016, through semi-structured interviews. The article finds that the Italian reception system for unaccompanied migrant children still largely focuses on material needs, while paying little attention to the educational, social and economic needs. Furthermore, claims the article, the current Italian legal system is not adequate to defend the rights and to support the integration of this particular category of migrants, especially in their transition into adulthood.

This joint report by the Refugee Council and Oxfam is one of the first to look at how family reunion and ongoing forced separation from loved ones affect the ability of refugees to successfully integrate into UK society. Based on interviews conducted with Refugee Council staff over the summer of 2017, it highlights the experiences of 44 resettled refugee families from Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Eritrea and three other countries, living in Yorkshire and Humberside and in Hertfordshire. The report highlights how refugees' gruelling experiences of conflict, persecution or abuse are exacerbated by the UK's restrictive approach to allowing refugees who have reached this country to apply for other family members to join them. 

This paper from the jour nal of European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry  provides an overview of the post 2015 immigration crisis in key European countries ( Turkey ,
Greece, Germany, UK, Sweden, and Norway) with a special focus on current demographics, refugee children, mental health studies, policies and practical support available for refugees. Based on interviews conducted with Refugee Council staff over the summer of 2017, it highlights the experiences of 44 resettled refugee families from Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Eritrea and three other countries, living in Yorkshire and Humberside and in Hertfordshire.

During the summer of 2016, in the midst of one of the biggest refugee crises in centuries, the author of this article from the journal of Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry joined the team from a shelter for unaccompanied refugee minors on Samos, Greece, in an effort to provide young boys seeking asylum in Europe with an opportunity to engage in speaking about the difficulties they have encountered in life. The team used a collective narrative methodology called the "Tree of Life." The workshop conducted on Samos proved to be an effective way to invite young unaccompanied minors to speak about their difficulties in ways that were not retraumatizing, but instead made them stronger.
Emergency Within an Emergency: The Growing Epidemic of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Migrant Children in Greece
This study from the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University analyzes the risk factors responsible for the exposure of migrant and refugee children (particularly those who are unaccompanied or separated) to physical, psychological, and sexual violence and exploitation in Greece in the context of the ongoing migrant humanitarian crisis. It documents sexual and physical abuse of children inside migrant camps and reports new information about the commercial sexual exploitation of migrant children in the main cities of Greece. This research also explores the existing gaps and challenges in intervention efforts that contribute to victimization of migrant children.

This joint report from UNICEF and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) explores in detail survey data from the Central and Eastern Mediterranean Sea routes to Europe, focusing on adolescents and youth on the move from Africa and Asia. The analysis reveals staggering rates of trafficking and exploitation, and also points to the xenophobia and racism that make young refugees and migrants − especially those from sub-Saharan Africa − vulnerable.

This report from UNICEF shines light on the dangers of the Central Mediterranean Migration Route for children, and the particular vulnerability of unaccompanied migrant minors traveling along this route. The report begins with some fast facts about the route and the children who migrate unaccompanied. It then presents the findings of a needs assessment survey UNICEF's Libya Country Office commissioned in 2016. The report shares the stories of some migrant children and describes migrants' experiences of trafficking, sexual violence, detention, smuggling, trauma and other psychological impacts, and more. The report concludes with UNICEF's policy recommendations for the Central Mediterranean crisis as well as its Six Policy Asks for Uprooted Children.

This document, from the Italian Society of Traumatic Stress Studies (SISST) in partnership with Terre des Hommes International Federation (TDHIF), aims to provide an overview of the scope of activities of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in relation to the protection of unaccompanied migrant children in Europe and support for this group. The report is divided into four chapters which provide: an overview on the topic of unaccompanied migrant children and a summary of conclusions drawn from the work of IOM in this context, a short overview of the international legal standards that exist in relation to unaccompanied migrant children, a description of IOM's work for unaccompanied migrant children in the different fields of the Organization's migration-related activities, and an exploration of the broader context of interorganizational partnerships between IOM and other actors and international cooperation with regard to unaccompanied migrant children.

Since March 2016, more than 260,000 people have arrived on Italian shores. The majority of them are young people, with unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) accounting for up to 15% of all arrivals. In order to strengthen policymakers' and humanitarian actors' responses in countries of transit and destination, this study from REACH was designed to shed light on young people's decision-making and preparedness levels, the mechanisms shaping their migration trajectories, and their expectations on the way to Europe. The assessment used purposive sampling to identify and interview 81 respondents originating from West Africa, East Africa and the Middle East, between the ages of 15 and 24 years, who arrived in Italy after March 2016.

This paper from the Children and Youth Services Review presents findings from two studies, in England (2012) and Ireland (2013), which explored experiences of unaccompanied refugee minors (URM) in foster care. Policy in England and Ireland emphasizes the use of foster care for URM. Research has highlighted the predominantly positive experiences of young people in this form of care. Drawing on "recognition theory," this article examines the role of foster care in supporting URM transitions to adulthood. 

This pilot project from the University College London Institute of Education Social Science Research Unit sought to investigate unaccompanied children's experiences of care, and caring for others, as they navigate the labyrinthine asylum-welfare nexus in the UKThis paper highlights emerging themes from the study, including the role of professional and non-professional adults involved with unaccompanied migrant children, the "cracks" in the system, contradictory requirements for asylum-seeking minors, and the complexities of navigating the "care-asylum nexus." Although the study found that unaccompanied children are involved in the care of themselves and others, this has received limited recognition by the state and by adult stakeholders in the asylum-welfare nexus.


This qualitative study, published in the Children and Youth Services Review, is designed to address the gaps in the research literature on the needs of unaccompanied children in foster care in the US. The study finds that the most pressing needs of children in care include securing appropriate and stable foster placements for youth; promoting connections in the community; ensuring adequate education and independent living skills; difficulties with acculturation; trauma and mental health issues; and issues related to legal status. Current strategies to address these issues include supporting culturally competent foster placements; providing English-language training; promoting relationships in the community such as mentors; and providing health and health-related services.

Drawing on 20 months of ethnographic fieldwork within non-governmental migrant shelters across Mexico, including in-depth interviews with unaccompanied minors and social service providers, this paper examines the experiences of young people who seek formal humanitarian recognition yet avoid detention by government agencies while in transit. The author explores how these dynamics reveal tensions in how the best interests of unaccompanied minors are assessed and determined by government agencies and non-governmental organizations. In doing so, the author demonstrates how migrant shelters both support and subvert best interest standards and call for a more mobile approach to aiding unaccompanied minors and their families.

Based on primary and secondary source materials, this article traces the evolution of the US social work field's response to the needs of unaccompanied immigrant and refugee youth during the past two centuries. It identifies some common and conflicting themes in the profession's assessment of the issues faced by unaccompanied children (UAC), and the purposes and outcomes of the interventions developed. It concludes by examining how the treatment of this population reflected the goals of assimilation, exclusion, or structural change, and how these goals continue to influence contemporary policy and practice.

From ethnographic research with unaccompanied children in the United States and Guatemala, this paper explores emergent and, at times, conflicting narratives of care that young migrants encounter while in U.S. federal custody. Informed by the perspectives of young migrants and their families, the paper suggests ways that service providers might better serve them.

For this issue brief from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, the authors conducted focus groups with 100 parents from 15 countries and 13 interviews with pediatricians to gain insight into how the current political environment in the United States is affecting the daily lives, well-being, and health of immigrant families, including their children. Findings from this study indicate that immigrant families "are experiencing resounding levels of fear and uncertainty," particularly fear of deportation and family separation and that these increased fears are leading to negative health and wellbeing outcomes for children that have lifelong consequences.


Unaccompanied and Separated Children in South Africa: is Return the Only Option? 
This article from the Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA) examines the challenges faced by unaccompanied and separated children in South AfricaThe article finds that unaccompanied and separated children struggle to meet the requirements set to regularise their stay once in the Republic. In a society where the ability to exercise basic human rights is intrinsically linked to identification documentation, the few options available to unaccompanied and separated children make this group highly vulnerable to exploitation, destitution, abuse, neglect, statelessness and under-development, due to restricted access to education and essential services. The cases studied here show that unaccompanied and separated children do not reach social workers systematically, which means that no or little consideration is given to finding durable solutions relevant to the particular child. The article finds that a combination of legislative gaps on one hand and stringent requirements on the other, result in unaccompanied and separated children struggling to access education, child protection services, the asylum system, birth registration and the right to a name and nationality. The article concludes by making a few pertinent recommendations that address the main concerns raised.


Childhood Interrupted: Children's Voices from the Rohingya Refugee Crisis
This report presents the results of a consultation - organized by Plan International, Save the Children and World Vision International - which surveyed children in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh from refugee communities (who identify themselves as Rohingya) and children from host communities. The report discusses the particular vulnerability of unaccompanied Rohingya child refugees in Bangladesh and highlights the common fears, challenges, and concerns expressed by refugee and host community children and mothers and the particular vulnerability of unaccompanied children. According to the report, "By the end of December 2017, the total number of unaccompanied and separated children was reported to be 2,689. Many children have come into Bangladesh unaccompanied, some were kidnapped from their families, some lost their parents or caregivers in the mazes of the camps, and others became lost in the dark." 

Understanding the Situation

Special Issue of the International Journal of Longitudinal and Life Course Studies: Outcomes of children raised in out-of-home care
The aim of this special issue of the International Journal of Longitudinal and Life Course Studies is to examine the outcomes of children who were raised for part of their childhood in out-of-home care, including in foster care and institutions. There is a growing body of literature examining the transition to adulthood for young people leaving care. While these studies generally show that youths raised in care are at risk of experiencing adverse outcomes in adulthood, the amount of literature is still small. This special issue was initiated to bring together studies on the aftercare experiences of women and men, from a variety of disciplines, covering different countries and historical periods. Articles in this special issue include those presenting studies from Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, England, and the US.

The War on Children: Time to end grave violations against children in conflict
This report from Save the Children identifies concerning trends for the safety and wellbeing of children living in areas impacted by conflict. The research utilizes figures that are published, independently verified and credible, but one of the key findings of the data mapping process is that there is a significant and worrying gap in child-specific data in conflicts. The report highlights different concerns for children in armed conflict, including recruitment of children into armed forces and the abduction of children by armed groups resulting in family separation. The report presents key findings from the research, including the numbers of children who experience armed conflict, the impacts of exposure to armed conflict on children, and the areas of the globe where it is most prevalent. The report also outlines recommendations along four main themes: (1) Preventing children being put at risk, (2) Upholding international laws and standards, (3) Holding violators to account, and (4) Rebuilding shattered lives.

Care-'less': exploring the interface between child care and parental control in the context of child rights for workers in children's homes in Ghana
This study, published in the BMC International Health and Human Rights journal, explored how employed caregivers experience the interface between child care, parental control and child rights in the context of Children's Homes in Ghana. The focus was on investigating caregiver perceptions of proper child care, their experiences with having to work with child rights principles and the implication of these for their relationships with the children and the care services they deliver. The findings suggest a need for a review of the implementation strategies of the child rights approach in that context. A re-organization of the children's homes environment and re-orientation of caregivers and children regarding their relationship is also suggested.

Our Lives Our Care: Looked after children's views on their well-being in 2017
This report from the University of Bristol School for Policy Studies and Coram Voice presents findings from a 2017 survey, in which 2,263 looked after children and young people from 16 local authorities in the United Kingdom completed the 'Your Life, Your Care' survey to determine their subjective, self-reported wellbeing. The report examines children's responses to survey questions that asked about their subjective well-being and different areas of their lives - their relationships, rights, resilience, and recovery. The report outlines the demographics of the children and young people surveyed and presents general trends in their responses.

Sibling Relationship in Foster Care: Foster Parent Perspective
This study from the Journal of Family Issues analyzes semistructured interviews of 15 foster parents in the US on how foster parents perceive the sibling relationships of youth in foster care and ways to promote these relationships. Three major areas emerged as a result of the analysis: (a) the experience of sibling relationships in foster care, (b) how sibling relationships should be treated in foster care, and (c) ways to promote sibling relationships. All of the foster parents in this study discussed the importance of sibling relationships for the youth in their care and offer ways to promote these relationships through collaboration and education. Implications for foster parent training and child welfare practice are discussed.

Policies, Standards & Guidelines

Strengthening Families, Ending Institutional Care: Recommendations to the European Union on Post-2020 Multi-Annual Financial Framework
This report from Opening Doors for Europe's Children presents recommendations to the EU on how best to include deinstitutionalization and children's care reforms as a part of the next multiannual financial framework. "The negotiations for the next Multiannual Financial Framework present a unique opportunity for the EU to champion the transition from institutional to family and community-based care as a human rights cause," states the report. " The EU has the chance and means to give millions of children within and beyond its borders access to a better life - no longer confined to institutions, but growing up with the love and support of their families and communities, included in the society."  The report highlights the role of the European Union in supporting the transition from institutional care to family or community-based care throughout Europe in the 2014-2020 funding period and calls on the EU to reinforce that support for the next period. 
A Child's Right to a Family: Deinstitutionalization - In the Best Interest of the Child
Using national and international law, court observations, and field experiences, this paper from the Journal of the National Human Rights Commission argues a case for deinstitutionalization of children in India, by empowering the families, thereby protecting children's right to a family and preventing abuse and exploitation. The paper provides an overview of the context in India, including current national and international laws and principles relating to institutionalization of children, and highlights the need for institutionalization to be used only as a last resort.

Rural Child Welfare Practice: Issue Brief
This issue brief highlights the importance of understanding the concerns and needs of children and families in rural communities in the United States, their strengths and resources, and the cultural sensitivity required of child welfare professionals as they work to achieve safety, permanency, and well-being for rural children.  The brief highlights some promising practices and programs in rural areas of the United States that effectively support family wellbeing.

Learning from Practice

First Nations parenting and child reunification: Identifying strengths, barriers, and community needs within the child welfare system
A First Nations child welfare organization in Canada seeks to further understand reunification and parenting, including identification of successes and barriers to reunification, and service needs within communities. These priorities were addressed in this study, published in the journal of Child & Family Social Work, with a community-based participatory research model. Participants indicated that placing children with extended family or within home communities facilitates best child outcomes. These reunifications could be increased by promoting parental and community capacity. Successes identified within communities included available supports, such as those that increased empowerment and community capacity. Identified barriers within communities were the lack of culturally appropriate services, hesitancy to obtain available support due to fears of child welfare intervention, and mental health difficulties of community members. 
"Nothing goes as planned": Practitioners reflect on matching children and foster families
This study from the journal of Child & Family Social Work answers the following question: "How does the case-specific context influence the practitioners' decision-making process regarding matching in family foster care?" Using a qualitative design, 20 semistructured interviews were conducted with practitioners matching children with foster families in the NetherlandsThe results show that exceptions are part of practitioners' daily work, either due to the belief that it might benefit those involved or because of obstacles presented during the decision-making process. When the decision is compromised, matching practitioners lower their standards, while at the same time safeguarding the quality of the match. This proves that matching in practice is more than choosing a family, and guidelines are needed to determine what "good-enough" matching should entail.
Caseworkers' insights and experiences with successful reunification
This study, published in the Children and Youth Services Review journal, presents findings from a survey of child welfare caseworkers' experiences with reunifications and focuses on practices and key factors at the casework practice and at the system-environment level to assist in achieving successful reunification in the United StatesAlmost all the caseworkers believed that the most important factors to ensure successful reunification is child safety, as well as providing services and support to the birth family. However, caseworkers highlight some barriers regarding their work with substance abuse and mental health families, caseload size and the agency's requirement for lengthy documentation and paperwork. The study suggests supporting the need for caseworkers to find strategies to engage in a collaborative effort with the birth parents to work toward reunification, as well providing and allocating more resources, services, and funding to the child welfare system will help to promote reunification.


Community care for children with special needs
This video is one within a series of six videos produced by Child's i Foundation and Better Care Network. In this video, social worker Diana Nyakarungi describes how Ekisa Ministries in Jinja, Uganda supports parents to care for their children with special needs within the community. The video is accompanied by a one-page discussion paper.

8 Borders, 8 Days (Trailer)
This documentary video tells the story of Sham, a single mother from Syria seeking safety in Europe. It follows Sham and her two children along their 8-day journey and details the obstacles and dangers that they face along the way, including threat of separation. 


SABC News, 4 March 2018

The Guardian, 28 February 2018

NPR, 26 February 2018

UNHCR, 27 February 2018

1 News, 24 February 2018

The Guardian, 22 February 2018

The Conversation,  19 February 2018

PM News,  15 February 2018

AllAfrica,  15 February 2018

ZIMBABWE: Zimbabwean children held for three months by South African government
GroundUp,  14 February 2018

Deccan Chronicle,  13 February 2018

Washington Post,  12 February 2018

The Hindu,  11 February 2018

NEW ZEALAND: Kiwi company ends controversial orphanage placements
New Zealand Herald, 10 February 2018

The Guardian,  8 February 2018


34th International Symposium on Child Abuse
19-22 March 2018, Huntsville, Alabama, USA

Opening Doors Event: Maintain, Strengthen, Expand: Supporting the transition to family and community-based care in the next MFF
20 March 2018, Brussels, Belgium

Childhub Webinar - 2 Years After: Lessons Learned on the Protection of Children on the Move in Europe 
27 March 2018

Transforming Service: An ecumenical service learning conference for primary and secondary educators
12-14 April 2018, Kew, Victoria, Australia

Child and Youth Care Association of British Columbia 2018 Child and Youth Care Conference
1-4 May 2018

The African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) and Defence for Children International (DCI): Save the Date - Continental Conference on Child Justice in Africa
8-10 May 2018, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

CAFO 2018 OVC Applied Research & Best Practice Symposium
9 May 2018, Frisco, Texas, USA
Terre des hommes: Monitoring and Evaluation Officer
Application deadline is 21 March 2018

UNICEF: Child Protection Officer, Kinshasa, DRC
Application deadline is 25 March 2018

UNICEF: Child Protection Specialist, Tbilisi, Georgia
Application deadline is 27 March 2018

Global Social Service Workforce Alliance Program Officer
Application deadline is 8 April 2018 

Child Trends: Research Analyst - Child Welfare
No application deadline given