• University of Strathclyde
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Getting Care Right for All Children: Implementing the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children

Ensure that alternative care is a necessary, suitable and positive experience for children, with this free online course.

17,584 enrolled on this course

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  • Duration

    6 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

Ensure that alternative care is necessary, suitable and positive for children.

Taking the UN Guidelines as a framework, this free online course will help you gain insight into how the unnecessary placement of a child in alternative care can be prevented; how alternative care can constitute a suitable, positive experience for a child when it is necessary; and how children and young people who are leaving care can best be supported. Learn with alternative care specialists from CELCIS, UNICEF and the UN.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds All around the world, for many different reasons, hundreds of thousands of children cannot live with their parents.

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 seconds What can we do to make sure we only provide the necessary and most suitable care when children really need it? The UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children sets out the principles for policy and practise that have been agreed upon worldwide. Join us to find out how we can put those guidelines into practise. Share your ideas, comments, and questions with practitioners, children and young people, and experts from around the world. Together let’s make a difference.

What topics will you cover?

  • Week 1 - Introduction to the Guidelines, the Principles, and Gatekeeping
  • Week 2 - Upholding the ‘necessity principle’: Supporting and Strengthening Families
  • Week 3 - Upholding the ‘necessity principle’: High-Risk Children and Gatekeeping
  • Week 4 - Upholding the ‘suitability principle’: Selecting from a Range of Formal Care Settings
  • Week 5 - Upholding the ‘suitability principle’: Deinstitutionalisation
  • Week 6 - Leaving Care

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Understanding the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children and how to apply them
  • Understanding the concepts of necessity and suitability as it is applied to alternative care
  • Understanding how to apply full and meaningful participation of children and young people in decisions about their care
  • Understanding policy requirements for the implementation of the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children
  • Understanding good practice in prevention of family separation, provision of suitable alternative care, family reunification and the process of leaving care
  • Understanding the aims and practice of Gatekeeping
  • Understanding the aims and practice of deinstitutionalisation

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for practitioners and policymakers from both state and non-state bodies (such as NGOs, CBOs and private service providers) and anyone working in providing services around children’s care.

This might include social workers, para-social workers, community support workers, lawyers, psychologists, child protection professionals, teachers, medical workers and care workers, including those in family-based and residential settings.

The course will also be accessible for people not working directly in this field and others with an interest or responsibility in the field of child protection and child care.

The course will be conducted in English with some course materials (including text and videos) also accessible in Spanish and French, reflecting the truly global nature of this issue.

What do people say about this course?

"Ideas taken in this course will help me in my supporting and care for children at risk of losing parental care, those already living in alternative care placements as well as their parents."

"This course was perfect for me as a decider on a possible career change into social and youth work. The range of perspectives from across the world has been great as I hope to work with many cultures and nationalities. Having begun to understand the guidelines now, I believe I can move on to further study, knowing what should be expected in care practice across the board. "

Who will you learn with?

Dr Chrissie Gale has spent over 26 years working as a child protection specialist in different countries around the world. For 4 years she led the international work of CELCIS. She is now a consultant

Who developed the course?

University of Strathclyde

The University of Strathclyde is a leading international technological university located in Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city, committed to useful learning.


CELCIS improves children’s lives by supporting people and organisations to drive long-lasting change in the services they need, and the practices used by people responsible for their care.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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