The Migrant Children’s Project (MCP) has been promoting the rights of refugee and migrant children, young people and families for over 10 years, striving to ensure that they receive the protection and support they need.
The strength of the project is its comprehensive approach to changing individuals’ lives, as well as law, policy and practice through training to frontline professionals, legal advice and representation, strategic litigation and policy advocacy to ensure the best outcomes for migrant children. It is the interplay between the different areas covered that we believe allows for systemic change and the greatest impact.
The project works towards three core goals:
- Individual change: To ensure that migrant children and young people and those caring for them are able to access holistic legal advice.
- Change to practice: To increase the awareness, knowledge and skills of professionals in relation to the rights and entitlements of migrant children and to ensure they have access to advice and support.
- Change to law and policy: To secure positive change in policy, law and practice to protect and promote the rights of migrant children.
Advice and representation
The MCP advice line offers free and confidential advice on the rights of migrant children and young people and issues affecting them, including children who are separated and those in families.
We also provide direct face to face advice and representation in Greater London, working to help young people address their immediate needs, such as assisting with access to local authority support, but also the immigration issues that underlie their exclusion from mainstream services.
Training and guidance
The Migrant Children’s Project helps professionals and practitioners to understand the rights and entitlements of this group of children and young people, and how they can be supported. Find out more about our training courses.
We have produced over 30 fact sheets on legal issues affecting young refugee and migrants, and Seeking Support: a guide to the rights and entitlements of separated children, is a comprehensive, practical guide to ensuring that unaccompanied and separated children receive the care and protection they need.
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Policy and research
In addition to the MCP’s capacity-building and awareness-raising work directly with practitioners and professionals, it seeks to use research and policy advocacy, combining specialist technical knowledge about the domestic and international law with evidence from its front-line work, to ensure children’s rights are embedded in law and in practice. It does this through:
- Research reports, highlighting legal issues faced by young
- refugees and migrants
- Providing evidence and recommendations to central government through consultation responses, select committee inquiries and direct engagement with parliamentarians
- Ongoing high-level engagement with civil servants in the Home Office, Department for Education and Ministry of Justice
- Strategic litigation
Coram Children’s Legal Centre co-chairs the Refugee Children’s Consortium, a group of NGOs working collaboratively to ensure that the rights and needs of refugee children are respected in accordance with relevant domestic, regional and international standards. It also co-chairs the National Asylum Stakeholder Forum Children’s Subgroup with the Home Office.
Evidence from the Migrant Children’s Project has also formed the basis for a number of significant research reports, including on undocumented migrants in the UK, Growing Up In a Hostile Environment: The rights of undocumented migrant children in the UK; the age assessment process, Happy Birthday? Disputing the age of children in the immigration system; and advice provision, Navigating the System: Advice provision for young refugees and migrants.
The ongoing work of the Migrant Children’s Project is generously funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The Pears Foundation, Trust for London, Comic Relief, Esmee Fairbairn, The Legal Education Foundation, The Big Lottery and The Stategic Legal Fund for Vulnerable Young Migrants.