Caring for Children Moving Alone: Protecting Unaccompanied and Separated Children

Learn about how to support and respond to the needs of unaccompanied and separated refugee and migrant children 

Our free online training course starts again on 9 May 2022, and is open to anyone working in or with an interest in the care and protection needs of unaccompanied and separated children and young people.

Produced by CELCIS – the Centre for Excellence for Children's Care and Protection - at the University of Strathclyde and delivered through FutureLearn, the course was created with 16 leading international humanitarian and children’s rights organisations, including the UNHCR, UNICEF, and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

This course was originally developed and published in 2019. The content remains highly relevant to how we respond to the needs of children across the world. In 2020 it was updated to recognise that there has been an impact on children across the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have therefore provided some specific information related to protection of children during the pandemic. In addition, since February 2022 the conflict in Ukraine has meant millions of people have become refugees overnight. In the immediate first few weeks, 2 million children were forced to cross borders to seek safety and refuge, with 2.5 million more displaced within Ukraine. While some children are accompanied by their parent or a legal/customary caregiver, others are unaccompanied or have been separated from their families. We hope that this course will be useful to those of you who are supporting the humanitarian response. 

What will I learn?

Learners will have access to truly unique content informed by the expertise and experience of young people, professionals, volunteers, and academics from a host of organisations and institutions. The course will equip learners with an understanding of how to discern and respond to the needs, circumstances and wishes of unaccompanied and separated children on the move as well as those at risk of separation. This includes resources and information to support prevention of family/primary caregiver separation; prevention of unnecessary placement of a child in alternative care; and, when such care is necessary, ensuring the availability of suitable alternative care. 

The course uses a combination of written and video content, with examples of real-life circumstances and promising practice in Mexico, Ethiopia and Sicily, and a fictionalised story to take learners through the application of the new learning they acquire as the course unfolds.

Who is the course for?

Whatever your role or interest in unaccompanied and separated children on the move, we hope you will find the course exciting and informative. We believe this course will be of interest to you and can help you in your work if you are a frontline professional or a volunteer anywhere in the world working to offer care, protection and other support to unaccompanied and separated refugee and migrant children. The course will also be of significance if you are a policy maker, work for a government or non-governmental organisation, or indeed, if you have any concern or responsibility for child protection and alternative care. We also believe this course will be useful if you are studying the topic of migration or want to learn more about children who are travelling alone across and between borders.

The course is entirely free and accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world. Course participants will be able to learn at their own pace and share ideas, concerns and examples of practice.

The course can be studied in four international languages: English, Spanish, French and Arabic.

Join the thousands of learners from over 180 countries across the globe who have already taken part.

Course details

When: 9 May 2022 onwards

Where: FutureLearn

Cost: Free

Contact organiser

Emma Dixon