Children on the Move

image of Children on the Move
Millions of children are on the move, both within and between countries, with or without their parents. The conditions under which movement takes place are often treacherous, putting migrant children, especially unaccompanied and separated children, at an increased risk of economic or sexual exploitation, abuse, neglect and violence. Policy responses to protect and support these migrant children are often fragmented and inconsistent and while children on the move have become a recognised part of today's global and mixed migration flows they are still largely invisible in debates on both child protection and migration.



Protecting and supporting children on the move: Translating principles into practice

Globally, the number of children who are on the move is increasing. While previously neglected in the international debates on migration, children are now becoming a more recognized part of global migration flows. However, despite the growing attention, particularly from child protection agencies, to the specific perspectives, interests and vulnerabilities of these children and on the consequences – both positive and negative – of mobility on them, policies and practices for the protection of children on the move still fail. Despite their common vulnerabilities and protection needs, children on the move are still divided into distinct categories and channelled into different protection routes and services which are subject to different political priorities. This has created an inconsistent and, in some cases, contradictory system of protection. Save the Children’s current efforts with Children on the Move are focused on developing and piloting models of national and community-based child protection mechanisms that can respond to the specific needs of children who are affected by mobility and that are effective in areas of origin, during transit and at destination. This article describes some of Save the Children’s most recent work in developing methodologies that can assist in the design of responses for children on the move, particularly during transit, one of the most challenging stages for child protection programmes. These models include methods to assess the best interests of the child in each phase of his or her journey. This article also describes specific tools that Save the Children has recently tested and which aim to contribute to the debate on how to translate the principles enshrined in international standards into procedures and practices that genuinely protect all children on the move, irrespective of their migration status, and that can provide a protective presence during each phase of their journeys.


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