Project Details


Building on successful pilot studies and the expertise of a multi-disciplinary team, the Separated Child Migrants and Care(SCM-C) project will provide new data and knowledge about separated child migrants' experiences of care, and caring for others, as they navigate the complexities of the immigration-welfare nexus in England. SCM-C sits against the backdrop of rising numbers of children who have been separated from primary carers during migration (Unicef, 2016) and conflicting state rhetoric: protecting children on the one hand and immigration control on the other. Our project will build on previous research which highlights resultant disparities in care but will also address the shortcomings of research, law, policy and practice which, to-date, has (i) focused on discrete aspects of the immigration-welfare nexus (Wade, 2011) and (ii)emphasised parent or state care to the neglect of children's care for each other. Our pilot studies indicate this neglect has meant that policies and practices designed to support separated child migrants can end up harming, excluding or discriminating against them. For instance, children who care for each other may be forcibly separated in foster care placements, go 'missing' when trying to reunite, or have their status as a 'child' questioned (Rosen et al., 2017). The overall aim of SCM-C is to investigate how separated child migrants, and those involved in their care, make sense of,value, and take part in care relationships and caring practices within the immigration-welfare nexus in England. In tandem with the aim of developing good practice approaches to the care by and for separated migrant children, the project's evidence base will enhance law, policy, and public understandings. Our knowledge and understanding objectives are to: 1.Generate new evidence by drawing together diverse stakeholders' understandings of separated migrants care for each other. Attending to the complexities of broader care relationships will allow consideration of the impacts of potentially contrasting understandings and practices of care on the lives of separated migrant children. 2.Develop new knowledge of separated children's care practices and relationships. Little is known about how separated migrant children navigate diverse and potentially conflicting ideas about care, or how their own caring practices are treated by adult stakeholders in the immigration-welfare nexus. 3.Provide insights into the ways that economic, social and political factors shape the care practices and experiences of separated children and those involved in their care. These factors may align or contradict each other (Heidbrink, 2014) with consequences for care by separated child migrants for each other. 4.Enable step-change academic advances through the development of theoretical insights made possible by engaging in theoretically-informed empirical analysis at the interstices of care, migration, and childhood. Our policy-practice objectives are to: 1.Facilitate opportunities for separated children to shape understandings of their care experiences and improve their treatment, as well as develop relationships with other young migrants and research, policy, and practitioner communities. 2.Build the research, communication, and public engagement capacities of young migrant researchers through the use of participatory research approaches. 3.Enhance the practice of adult stakeholders who care for and about separated child migrants by providing opportunities to identify and develop good practice in the care of separated migrant children. 4.Provide robust evidence about separated children's care relationships and caring practices, and the implications of how these are currently understood and treated in policy and professional practice, to shape policy debate and development. 5.Generate online, print and face-to-face activities about separated child migrants and their care to inform public debate.
Effective start/end date4/12/181/01/22

Collaborative partners

  • University of Northampton
  • The Open University (lead)
  • University College London (Project partner)
  • University of Bedfordshire (Joint applicant)
  • University of Liverpool (Project partner)
  • University of Oxford (Project partner)
  • Coram Children's Legal Centre (Project partner)


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