Skip to 0 minutes and 1 secondWelcome to Getting Care Right for All children, implementing the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children. My name is Jennifer Davidson. And I am the Executive Director of the Institute for Inspiring Children's Futures, which brings together the work of CELCIS, which is the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children, and the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice and academics from across the University of Strathclyde in Scotland and beyond. And I'll be your course principal. Later on, I'll be introducing you to Chrissie Gale, the international lead at CELCIS, who will be your course lead educator. Caring for all children means working together to enable a caring and protective environment in which children can remain with their parents wherever possible.

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 secondsAnd when this is truly not in their best interest or not possible, to provide them with the most suitable alternative care. The UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children were developed to help us understand and realise these aims. And so the goals of this course is to demonstrate how the UN guidelines can play an important role in promoting rights-based care decisions for each child by informing the development of policy and practise. The course will help you gain an insight into the wide range of reasons why children come into alternative care and the importance of preventing family separation whenever possible.

Skip to 1 minute and 27 secondsYou will also be exploring the need for a diverse range of suitable alternative care settings when necessary to meet the needs, circumstances, and wishes of each individual child. By these means, you will be exploring two principles, those of necessity and suitability, which will be explained in more detail as you work through the course. I'm very happy to welcome you all. And I hope you'll find the next six weeks interesting, stimulating, and above all, useful for the role you play in caring for children. And now, I'd like to introduce you to Chrissie Gale, who will be your course lead educator. Hello my name is Chrissie Gale and I'm really pleased to be your course lead educator for the coming six weeks.

Skip to 2 minutes and 11 secondsThat means I'll be interacting with you in different ways throughout the course, including participating in live online sessions, summarising what we've learned at the end of each week, and responding to the comments you write on the discussion board. During the next six weeks, you'll also have the opportunity to pose questions and share your ideas and experiences. You'll hear from international experts from around the world. And most importantly, you will also hear from children and young people themselves. Each week, we will be showing you a film that follows the story of two vulnerable children called Asha and Lan. The film will illustrate some of the issues we'll be studying. And I also hope it'll help stimulate ideas and further discussion.

Skip to 2 minutes and 55 secondsI so hope you enjoy your learning time alongside us and that you'll find the course interesting and very useful. Good luck.

Welcome to the course

The UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children

The international agencies that made the creation of this course possible felt it was very important for ‘Getting Care Right for All Children’ to help increase awareness, understanding and use of the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children approved by the UN General Assembly in 2009. You can find the Guidelines in English, Spanish, French, and some other languages. Therefore, the Guidelines have been used as a framework and reference base for this course. We will not describe them in detail - however as the whole course is based on the Guidelines we encourage you to read them in full.

By the end of the course you will have explored and grasped the scope and the main substance of the Guidelines. For example, drawing on practice and experience from around the world, we will help you gain insight into the importance of preventing unnecessary separation of children from their parents whenever possible. We will explore this important aim by learning the meaning of the “necessity” principle in the first three weeks of your course.

The course will also explore ways to ensure suitable alternative care is a positive experience for a child when it is truly needed, how it should meet their individual needs and circumstances and, the role the Guidelines can play in promoting rights-based care for each child. In weeks 4 to 6 of the course we will therefore be looking at all aspects of how to uphold the “suitability” principle.

Throughout the course, we will hear from children and young people from around the world who have experience of alternative care and whom, kindly share their thoughts and ideas with us. In addition, a range of international experts offer their knowledge and experience about the different topics we will cover.


In this video, we hear from Professor Jennifer Davidson. Jennifer is the Executive Director for the Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures at the University of Strathclyde. The Institute brings together the existing expertise of the Centre for Excellence for Children’s Care and Protection (CELCIS), the Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice (CYCJ), and academics and staff members from across the University and beyond. Jennifer brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in children’s services from Canada, the USA, and the UK. She’s worked as a practitioner and academic, and in education and leadership positions. Jennifer has a particular interest in the lived experiences of looked after children, and in the development of tools which will ensure effective policies turn into supportive practice in alternative care around the world.

We are also introduced to the Lead Educator, Dr Chrissie Gale. Chrissie is the International Lead for CELCIS and has spent much of the last 22 years working on child protection programmes in different countries around the world. She leads on international work which includes building partnerships with policy makers and practitioners across the globe and working on the promotion and use of Moving Forward: Implementing the ‘Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children’, a handbook to accompany the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children.

You will see Chrissie throughout the course as she asks international experts questions about the Guidelines as well as reviewing the subjects you have covered at the end of each week. You are encouraged to view Chrissie’s profile and follow her, so you can easily see any comments she has made during the course.

To help you, we will be referring to different reading materials throughout the course. One of the documents we think will be particularly helpful is the handbook Moving Forward: Implementing the ‘Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children’, that was written especially to accompany the Guidelines.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

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

University of Strathclyde