Caring for Children Moving Alone: Protecting Unaccompanied and Separated Children

In 2016, an estimated 28 million children were living in a situation of forced displacement. (UNICEF 2018). This is truly a global phenomenon - between 2015 and 2016 at least 300,000 unaccompanied and separated children undertaking dangerous journeys and moving across borders, were registered in 80 different countries (UNICEF 2018). Lacking the protection of primary caregivers, these children are at heightened risk to all forms of violence including trafficking, sexual exploitation, forced labour, physical abuse and torture. They face homelessness, poor health and psychosocial impacts , malnutrition, fear, loneliness and even death. Providing the most suitable alternative care for these children is vital - offering them a protective and caring environment.

With the aim of improving provision of suitable care and the manner in which it is offered, the Caring for Children Moving Alone MOOC Taskforce (including BCN) has created a specialised Massive Open Online Course - a MOOC. This MOOC aims to increase the knowledge and support improved practice of front line workers and others who make decisions about the care and best interest of children on the move every day. This MOOC will build on our experience producing the MOOC on Alternative Care and highlight the principles found in UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children and other international treaties and standards. This dynamic course content is informed by the expertise and first hand experience of children and young people, professionals, volunteers and academics from a host of leading international organisations and institutions.

This free online course is designed to engage all those working in alternative care, and humanitarian response, address gaps in the knowledge, skills and capacities of, front line workers, volunteers, policy makers and others who have a responsibility and interest in protecting and promoting appropriate care for unaccompanied and separated children on the move.

Learners will be able to learn at their own pace, across the six-week, free, online course and share ideas, concerns and examples of good practice with other learners across the world. The course can be studied in four international languages: English, Spanish, French and Arabic.

The main objectives of the MOOC are to:

  • Consider how international standards enable frontline workers to respond to the care and protection needs that address each child’s needs, circumstances, wishes and best interest through the provision of alternative care
  • Provide guidance on appropriate decision making and provision of suitable care for unaccompanied and separated children and, those at risk of being so
  • Build bridges between the humanitarian sector, alternative care workers and others in contact with unaccompanied and separated children on the move
  • Promote the creation and use of different forms of suitable care