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Researching the concept of care for children in the asylum system

Migrant children

An OU academic is co-leading a project with Rachel Rosen (University College London), which will investigate the care of child migrants who are separated from their families.

Dr Sarah Crafter, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the OU’s Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, is Principal Investigator for the project which has just received £1 million from the Economic and Social Research Council.

Dr Crafter, who has been at The Open University since 2017 is a cultural-development psychology interested in how the experience of migration might impact on children and their families. She is particularly interested in young people's transitions to adulthood and how critical or contested ideas about ‘normative’ development may be foreground for children of migration. 

The aim of the project is to investigate how separated child migrants, and those involved in their care, make sense of, value, and take part in care relationships and caring practices within the immigration-welfare nexus in England.

The project, which begins in May 2019 and will run until July 2022, will target 60 children from countries like Afghanistan, Albania, and Eritrea between the ages of 11-18 years old, who arrive at two UK locations. The project will also seek out the perspectives of adults who care for separated child migrants, and map the cultural-political economy of care of separated child migrants.

“Our aim is to develop enough knowledge about the care needs of these children to facilitate opportunities for the children themselves to get a sense of what they need and to use this knowledge to inform policy and practice,” said Dr Crafter.

“We will develop online materials for practitioners to enable them to prioritise the care of these children, taking on board the mixed messages which can arise when these children are, on the one hand, given extra care, and on the other, treated with hostility and suspicion due to their immigration status.”

The research project is a collaboration with academic colleagues from University College London, University of Liverpool, University of Northampton, University of Oxford, University of Bedfordshire and Coram’s Children’s Legal Centre.

Hear what Dr Crafter has to say about the project in the video below:

Read more on Dr Crafter’s blog

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