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Children Caring on the Move


Children Caring on the Move (CCoM) investigates separated child migrants’ experiences of care, and caring for others, as they navigate the complexities of the immigration-welfare nexus in England. We use participatory and creative research methods with separated migrant children and adult stakeholders, in combination with an analysis of the cultural political economy of separated children’s care.


Sarah Crafter, Open University (Principal Investigator)
Eleanor Ott, University of Oxford 
Helen Stalford, University of Liverpool
Ravi Kohli, University of Bedfordshire    
Rachel Rosen, University College London
Evangelia Prokopiou, University of Northampton
Elaine Chase, University College London
Veena Meetoo, University College London


This project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).


The project sits against the backdrop of rising numbers of children who have been separated from primary carers during migration and conflicting state rhetoric: protecting children on the one hand and immigration control on the other. ‘Care’ is ambiguous in this context because children may receive care because of their ‘child’ status or be excluded from provision because of their ‘migrant’ status. CCoM starts from the premise that care is not necessarily limited to that provided by an adult or the state, but can be provided by separated children themselves. Yet, little is known about separated children’s care for each other as they navigate contradictory, complex, and changeable immigration and welfare systems.

Nor do we know how separated children’s care for each other is understood and treated by relevant adult stakeholders, including social workers, foster carers, educators, youth workers, religious leaders, legal professionals, and policymakers. 

In response, this project makes a needed and timely intervention. Placing separated children at its heart, CCoM asks:

  • How do separated migrant children, and those involved in the care of separated children, make sense of and value care relationships and caring practices?
  • How do separated child migrants build, sustain and navigate care relationships and caring practices in the immigration-welfare nexus?
  • What economic, social and political factors shape the priorities of relevant stakeholders and institutions, and how do these affect the treatment of separated children?
  • What are the theoretical and policy implications of these potentially heterogeneous understandings and practices of care within the context of the tension between protection and immigration control?

More information

Gateway to Research Portal


Sarah Crafter

Contact us

To find out more about our work, or to discuss a potential project, please contact:

International Development Research Office
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes
United Kingdom

T: +44 (0)1908 858502