Skip to 0 minutes and 1 secondHello, and welcome to your course, "Caring for Children Moving Alone." My name's Chrissie Gale. And I'm delighted to be your course leader for the next six weeks. After 26 years of working as an international aid and development worker in different countries of the world, I am now the international lead at CELCIS in the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. I'm going to be interacting with you in different ways, including reading the comments I really hope you're going to post on our discussion board, as well as summarising what we learn at the end of each week. So what are we going to be exploring together over the next six weeks?

Skip to 0 minutes and 38 secondsFor many different reasons, all around the world, children are moving alone, across and between countries. They are unaccompanied and separated children on the move. And we're going to be considering the ways we can provide the most suitable alternative care, protection, and support for these children. Alternative care is the range of places children can stay and be cared for, either for a medium, short, or long-term stay. We're going to think about the best ways to provide this suitable care and how it can also provide protection from harm and access to other support services.

Skip to 1 minute and 16 secondsWe'll be considering some of the standards and principles in a range of national and international treaties and legislation, including the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children and how this should guide our work. You'll have the opportunity to see some short films that show actual real life projects that have been developed for unaccompanied and separated children on the move in different countries. And you'll also hear from the people who work in those programmes. So over the next six weeks, we will

Skip to 1 minute and 46 secondsexplore: Why are unaccompanied and separated children on the move? And what are the risks they face? How can we best assess the individual needs, circumstances, and wishes of children so we can provide the best possible alternative care, protection, and support? What is suitable and what is unsuitable care? And I know you may be facing many challenges in your everyday work, we're going to consider how we can improve the protection, support and alternative care for children. There'll also be ways that you can interact with each other. You're going to be able to post your ideas, post questions, and share your own knowledge and experience with the other course learners from around the world on our discussion board.

Skip to 2 minutes and 35 secondsI'm really looking forward to reading those comments. So I hope you find the next six weeks both interesting and stimulating. But most of all, I really hope that you will find this course useful and helpful in whatever role you might be playing to support, protect and provide alternative care for unaccompanied and separated children on the move. Thank you, and good luck.

Welcome to the course

A very warm welcome to the course.

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.

During the next six weeks we will explore the provision of alternative care for refugee and migrant children who are travelling within or across countries and are not accompanied by either of their parents or their legal/customary caregiver. Throughout the course, we will refer to these children as unaccompanied and separated children. In addition, we will also discuss those cases of children who are accompanied but at risk of harm, and might be in need of alternative care and protection.

Alternative care is the range of places where children can stay temporarily and be looked after by someone who is not their parents or legal/customary caregivers. During the course, we will look at what is suitable alternative care, how it can contribute to children’s protection from harm, and help provide access to a range of different support services.

Before this course was written, we asked frontline care workers and others working with unaccompanied and separated children in different countries to tell us what their training needs were. They asked us to provide information that would help improve their knowledge and skills, and contribute toward the better provision of care and protection for children.

During the course, while acknowledging the challenges you may be facing, you will learn about the standards for alternative care and protection as laid out in national and international guidance - including the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children (the UN Guidelines).

The guidance we provide in the course is based on standards that are relevant for children while they are in transit, remaining in a country temporarily, and when they reach a country of final destination.

During the development of this course we were able to make some short films about projects for unaccompanied and separated children in three countries: Ethiopia, Mexico and Italy. You will see the films over the next six weeks and hear about the experiences of people working to improve care and support for unaccompanied and separated children. These were just some of the projects recommended by members of the Children on the Move Taskforce as being examples of ‘promising practice’. We realise there are many more examples around the world, but unfortunately it was not possible to visit them all. During the course, we hope you will take the opportunity to use the comments board and the discussion course steps to tell us about promising practice in your respective countries.

Most importantly, you will hear the ideas of children and young people themselves. All the children, young people and other participants you see in the films provided their consent to film them. However, in some of the films you will see we have obscured the identity of some of the children. This is for protection reasons and illustrates how important it is to safeguard children in vulnerable situations.

We have also provided suggestions for additional reading materials at the bottom of many of the course steps.

Over the next 6 weeks we will explore the following topics:

  1. The reasons unaccompanied and separated children are on the move and the risks they face

  2. The importance of alternative care and the protection it can provide for unaccompanied and separated children

  3. How to assess the individual needs, circumstances and wishes of each child and identify and deliver the most suitable form of alternative care, protection and other support services that meet their best interests

  4. Understanding some of the international treaties and agreements that should guide our work

  5. What is suitable and unsuitable alternative care

  6. The importance of working within national child protection systems

  7. How to support children in a child friendly manner and ensure their full and meaningful participation in decision making

  8. How to support children and young people leaving care

During the next six weeks, there will be many opportunities for you to ask questions and share your experiences and ideas with other course participants from all around the world.

Welcome to the course from your Lead Educator

In this video we hear from your Lead Educator, Dr. Chrissie Gale. Chrissie is the International Lead for CELCIS and has spent much of the last 26 years working on child protection programmes in different countries around the world. She leads on international work at CELCIS 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.

Chrissie will be interacting with you in different ways throughout the course. You are encouraged to view Chrissie’s profile and follow her, so you can easily see any comments she makes during the course.

In order to help you, we will be referring to different reading materials throughout the course. Two of the documents we think will be particularly helpful are the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children approved by the UN General Assembly in 2009 and which is available in Spanish, French and Arabic, as well as other languages, and the accompanying handbook Moving Forward: Implementing the ‘Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children’ which is also available in Spanish, French and other languages.

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This video is from the free online course:

Caring for Children Moving Alone: Protecting Unaccompanied and Separated Children

University of Strathclyde