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Separated children (sometimes known as ‘unaccompanied and separated children’ (UASCs)) seeking asylum face significant uncertainty not just during their journeys from their countries of origin, but in their experiences within the legal system and in their everyday lives after arrival. Their legal status as asylum seekers and children, places them in a precarious position, especially as protection as children under national and international law is abruptly removed on reaching the age of 18. If their asylum claims are rejected, they may face deportation to a country which they left in challenging circumstances and where they have few, if any, support networks. Migration policies to deal with this group vary between countries, despite common international governance regimes including the UNCRC.

The ability of child welfare professionals and non-governmental organisations to provide appropriate support is also framed and constrained by national policy regimes and international legal obligations. Specific support is required due to the potential physical and psychological impacts of the journey itself, and the need to adapt to an unfamiliar and sometimes hostile social environment. Support is also required to navigate through the immigration and asylum process, and to deal with the constant fear of deportation.

This innovative seminar series examines the policy challenges and possible responses in supporting UASCs seeking asylum. It will also develop new insights into the theorisation of children and migration, and methodological debates around researching the experiences of these young people. It is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and will consist of nine events during the period October 2013-September 2016.

For further information please email: info@uncertainjourneys.org.uk