• University of Strathclyde
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Caring for Children Moving Alone: Protecting Unaccompanied and Separated Children

Learn about unaccompanied and separated refugee and migrant children for free.

30,519 enrolled on this course

A boy looks out over Hamam Alil displaced peoples camp in Iraq. Photo: IFRC/Tommy Trenchard/Panos Pictures

Caring for Children Moving Alone: Protecting Unaccompanied and Separated Children

30,519 enrolled on this course

  • 6 weeks

  • 4 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Intermediate level

Find out more about how to join this course

Learn about unaccompanied and separated refugee and migrant children

This course is about the care and protection of unaccompanied and separated refugee and migrant children who are moving across and between countries. This course will provide an understanding of the risks and vulnerabilities these children face. It will inform the improvement of policy, practice and delivery of support services that uphold children’s rights and meet their best interests. The course will provide examples of promising practice. It will stimulate the exchange of ideas and experience between learners around the world and is available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic.

This free course’s revenue will be donated to Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC)’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 10 seconds All around the world, unaccompanied and separated refugee and migrant children are making hazardous journeys and taking risks.

Skip to 0 minutes and 20 seconds They need our support. This course will guide us through the skills and knowledge we need to provide alternative care and protection in the best possible way. During the course you’ll have the opportunity to learn from examples of promising practice. Listen to children themselves telling us what they need and hear about the experiences of people working with unaccompanied and separated children in many different situations.

Skip to 0 minutes and 51 seconds Through our ‘discussion board’ you’ll also have the opportunity to share your own ideas, questions and comments with people all around the world.

Skip to 1 minute and 1 second So please join me on this course so together we can improve the care and protection these children really need.

What topics will you cover?

  • Why unaccompanied and separated children are on the move, the risks they face and, how best to respond to their circumstances.
  • Understanding the importance of offering a range of suitable alternative care options in a country and how this can offer protection to unaccompanied and separated children on the move.
  • Illustrating examples of suitable alternative care and support for unaccompanied and separated children being practiced around the world.
  • The skills those working with unaccompanied and separated children on the move should have.
  • How to fully assess needs and vulnerabilities of unaccompanied and separated children and make decisions that are in their best interests.
  • How to build coordination and cooperation between the humanitarian sector and alternative care professionals to improve responses to unaccompanied and separated children.

This course has been made possible by the Caring for Children Moving Alone MOOC Taskforce:

  • Better Care Network
  • Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children
  • Hope and Homes for Children (HHC)
  • International Detention Coalition (IDC)
  • International Federation of Educative Communities (FICE)
  • IFRC
  • International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW)
  • International Organisation on Migration (IOM)
  • International Social Service (ISS)
  • Latin American Foster Care Network (RELAF)
  • Save the Children
  • SOS Children’s Villages International
  • Terre des hommes (TdH)

[Banner photo: © IFRC/Tommy Trenchard/Panos Pictures]

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

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...

  • Identify specific risks, vulnerabilities and support needs of unaccompanied and separated children on the move and the application of different appropriate responses.
  • Apply the content and meaning of relevant international and national legislation and agreements.
  • Explore the principles outlined in the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children and discover how suitable care can contribute to the protection of children.
  • Identify a range of promising practices in relation to suitable alternative care settings that meet the needs, wishes and circumstances of each individual unaccompanied and separated child on the move.

Who is the course for?

The course will be of interest to you if you are a front line professional or a volunteer anywhere in the world working to offer care, protection and other support to unaccompanied and separated children on the move. For example, you might be a social worker, child protection professional, teacher, border official, medical worker, judge, lawyer or care worker. The course will 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. You will also find this course useful if you are studying the topic of migration or, someone who would like to learn more about children who are travelling alone across and between borders.

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.

Endorsers and supporters

funded by


funded by

Swiss confederation

funded by

German cooperation

supported by

Harvard FXB

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$134/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 27 Jul 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

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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