UNICEF IRC conducts research on the situation of children affected by migration, the social and economic causes of impact and implications for children, families and other communities. Guided by the best interests of the child, IRC research considers the factors that may enhance or compromise the enjoyment of children’s rights in the context of migration. Complementing other initiatives by UNICEF, IRC’s research focuses particularly on independent migrant children and migrant children with their families in countries of settlement.
Completed and ongoing research
Children in immigrant families in eight industrialized countries
The study focuses on immigrant children living with their families in eight industrialized countries: Australia, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Many children in immigrant families in industrialized countries experience substantial social exclusion, raising needs for better policies and programmes to foster their social integration. Effective action is hampered by children’s low visibility and limited information regarding their circumstances. For each country, the national teams will produce a statistical profile literature review on children in immigrant families. The statistics will utilize national census, survey or registration data, and will be comparable across countries. Drawing on the country studies, a comparative report is being developed that synthesizes the research results and discusses policy implications.
The project was coordinated by Donald J. Hernandez (University of Albany, USA) and Social and Economic Policies Unit, UNICEF IRC.
Country team leaders are:
- Australia: Ilan Katz and Gerry Redmond (University of New South Wales)
- France: Patrick Simon (Institut national d’ études démographiques), Thomas Kirszbaum (Recherches et études sur les politiques socio-urbaines) and Yaël Brinbaum (École normale supérieure)
- Germany: Bernhard Nauck and Susanne Clauss (Technische Universität Chemnitz)
- Italy: Letizia Mencarini (Università degli Studi di Torino) and Gianpiero Dalla Zuanna (Università degli Studi di Padova)
- Netherlands: Helga de Valk (Het Nederlands Interdisciplinair Demografisch Instituut)
- Switzerland: Philippe Wanner (Université de Genève) and Rosita Fibbi (Université de Neuchâtel)
- United Kingdom: Heaven Crawley (Swansea University)
- United States: Donald J. Hernandez (University at Albany, State University of New York)
Children who have migrated and live away from their parents or legal/customary adult guardians are often termed as 'independent child migrants'. This research explores their situations in developing countries and examines the social and economic significance of their migration. In seeking livelihoods and other rewards from migration independent child migrants adopt many adult responsibilities. Available data suggest that many of these children are young. Although often carrying adult responsibilities, they are children in many of their individual attributes, legal rights and status.
IRC's research on independent child migration includes literature reviews focusing on four areas: qualitative research approaches towards children who live independently; children’s labour migration; and children’s independent migration and development. Research on the use of census data for analysing children’s migration in three developing countries (Argentina, Chile, and South Africa) was also conducted.
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