12 April 2019

Caring for children moving alone: Hope and Homes for Children partners to launch new (and free!) online course

Hope and Homes for Children partners with sixteen leading international humanitarian agencies and children’s rights organisations – such as Save the Children, SOS Children’s Villages, Unicef, The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), UN Migration (IOM), Better Care Network, End Violence Against Children – to launch a new free online course:

Caring for children moving alone”.


This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is dedicated to responding to the needs and rights of unaccompanied and separated children and 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.

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.

The rights of all children are universal, including unaccompanied and separated children who are migrants, refugees or asylum-seekers. Their rights and needs do not stop at borders or in countries of transit and destination. Yet, children on the move alone are especially vulnerable to violence, abuse and exploitation.

There are well-documented gaps in specialized services for unaccompanied and separated children on the move, and there are few frontline workers, volunteers, policy makers and others with the knowledge, skills and training to ensure these vulnerable children are cared for and protected.

This new and unique online course aims to address these critical knowledge and capacity gaps and train practitioners and others working in humanitarian response, alternative child care and child protection in effective ways to help and support children on the move.

Dr Delia Pop, Hope and Homes for Children’s Director of Programmes and Global Advocacy, comments our partnership in the launch of the course:

“Hope and Homes for Children as a global expert on deinstitutionalisation sees children on the move as one of the most vulnerable groups of children that sometimes need very specialist care and protection. In the wake of the global migration challenges, we wanted to ensure, that we as a society were better equipped to deal with the complexities of children on the move in light of our responsibilities under international law. We are delighted that this course is free and available online in several languages, worldwide so that professionals from all walks of life can better understand how to provide services to children on the move.”

“Caring for Children Moving Alone”: a free six-week online course, available in 4 languages

Caring for Children Moving Alone is a free six-week online course, available in English, Arabic, French and Spanish.  It begins on May 27, 2019 on the FutureLearn digital platform.The dynamic course content is based on the expertise and first-hand experience of professionals, volunteers and academics with a host of leading international organizations and institutions.

Guidance in the course is also based on international standards and policies, including commitments agreed to under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children and the Global Compacts on Migration and Refugees.

After this course, learners will gain an understanding of why unaccompanied or separated children flee or migrate, the risks they face and how to identify them and discern and respond to their needs, circumstances and wishes. This will include resources and information to support prevention of family/primary caregiver separation; prevention of unnecessary placement of a child in alternative care; and, when such care is necessary, ensuring the availability of suitable alternative care and work within national child protection systems and with child protection organizations.

Who should attend this course?

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.

  • Front line workers
  • Social workers or case workers
  • Government including local authorities
  • NGOs or grass root organisations
  • Students in social work or interested in working with children

Launching today (Friday 12 April) for learners to register on the FutureLearn platform, Caring for Children Moving Alone: Protecting Unaccompanied and Separated Children –  the course will begin on Monday 27 May 2019.

Register here.

Share the news with your network 

Go social and share the news about this new and completely free online course: #FLchildrenmovingalone #childrensrights #childrenonthemove.