Migration from the global South to the global North is on the rise, yet restrictive migration policies in the North make it difficult for families to travel together. This leads families the world over to live physically apart, using their networks locally and transnationally to find new or adapted arrangements for raising children. The little information that exists on Transnational Child-Raising Arrangements (TCRAs) based on small-scale and partial evidence indicates that there are negative consequences for children’s upbringing and emotional costs on parents and children. These negative aspects may offset the positive effects of remittances, which are the focus of migration and development literature and debates. Although these practices are widespread between Africa and Europe they have not yet been systematically studied.
The study builds on the TCRA programme on transnational child-raising arrangements between Ghana and The Netherlands and adds a cross-country comparative dimension by including Angola and Nigeria as migrant origin countries and Portugal and Ireland as migrant destination countries.
The programme seeks to understand three dimensions of transnational child raising arrangements:
- How do TCRAs affect life-chances of children who remain in the country of origin, their migrant parents and their caregivers between Africa and Europe?
- How are TCRAs affected by migration laws in Europe and the institution of child fosterage in Africa and how are schools in African countries affected by TCRAs?
- How do the different sending and receiving country contexts affect the functioning and outcomes that TCRAs have on the different actors?
The programme aims to answer these questions through 4 matched case studies:
Portugal – Angola; The Netherlands – Angola; Ireland – Nigeria; The Netherlands – Nigeria. Additionally, it is linked to a recently funded Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) program on TCRAs between Ghana and The Netherlands. Each case study uses quantitative and qualitative methods on a matched sample of child-migrant parent-caregiver triads and institutional studies of legal practices in Europe and schools and child fostering norms in Africa. The projects are linked by a common analytical framework and methods so as to make cross-case comparisons possible.
The programme will shed light on three important areas of policy formation: migration and development; migration and integration; and family reunification policies.
Maastricht University coordinates the study and collaborates with University College Cork in Ireland, University of Lisbon in Portugal and Fafo Institute for Applied International Studies in Norway. NORFACE (New Opportunities for Research Funding Agency Co-operation in Europe) is a consortium of fourteen research councils (including the Dutch NWO) created to increase co-operation in research and research policy in Europe.