Supporting separated migrant children to thrive during COVID-19
Almost 14,000 separated migrant children applied for asylum in the EU in 2019 (Eurostat 2019). Without parents/caregivers close by, their connections to support networks, to social work, education and legal services, and to peers are vital. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on these networks and services poses urgent risks for young people’s well-being and ability to thrive, socially and educationally.
This ERSC-funded project - Supporting separated migrant children to thrive during COVID-19 - is examining how separated migrant children (aged 12 -18) experience the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on their connectivity to social networks, services and peers. It will identify how services have adapted to meet their needs and will disseminate good practice throughout the UK. An arts-based intervention which gives children the opportunity to articulate their feelings about this and other crises, while developing English language skills, will be introduced and evaluated. The research adopts a conceptual lens which assumes that for separated migrant children, COVID-19 is likely to be only one of many crises they have faced; in contrast for services, COVID-19 represents the first crisis of this scale.
The interdisciplinary research team has developed a mixed methods design for the project. As well as interviews with children, their carers, guardians, social workers and teachers, researchers will survey local authorities to understand their responses to the pandemic and the challenges they have faced. Researchers will carry out a digital linguistic ethnography of the intervention in order to understand how separated migrant children, a vulnerable group, experience and express crisis.
Findings from the project will inform the development of an online resource, comprising briefing and working papers and children’s work and commentaries. On-going collaboration with UK partners and online workshops will build capacity to work effectively with separated migrant children during the current and future crises.
If you would like to know more about the project, please visit our website, where you will find more details and the project blog.