Community Structures and Processes on Lives of Refugee Children

Sofia Leitao, Yvonne M. Vissing (Eds.)

by Cristóbal Pérez , Jose Noronha Rodrigues (Universidade dos Açores, Portugal), Tanya Herring (Salem State University), Isolde Quadranti (European Documentation Centre of University of Verona, Italy), Blaž Lenarčič (Science and research centre Koper, Slovenia), Zorana Medarić (Science and research centre Koper, Slovenia), Dialechti Chatzoudi (University of Cyprus, Cyprus), Graça Santos (Escola Superior de Educação of the Polytechnic Institute of Bragança, Portugal; CEAD - Center for Research in Adult Education and Community Intervention), Sofia Bergano (Escola Superior de Educação of the Polytechnic Institute of Bragança, Portugal; CEAD - Center for Research in Adult Education and Community Intervention), Regina Bernadin (International Rescue Committee, USA), Raúl Fernández-Calienes (St. Thomas University), Richard Thickpenny (University of West of England; Aston University; The New Penny Ltd), Greg Carroll (Salem State University), Allan Shwedel (Salem State University), George Weagba (United Methodist University, Liberia), Joe Buttner (Salem State University), David Mercer (Salem State University), Sofia Leitao (Rinova Limited), Amanda Francis (Rinova Ltd), Sami Atif (Rinova Ltd), Dora Cabete (Universidade dos Açores, Portugal)

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What is needed to provide a safe and prosperous future for refugee children? In this anthology, several highly regarded scholars come together to give their thoughts on this difficult yet important matter. The methodology differs throughout the book offering both qualitative research, legal reasoning, accounts of local projects and much more. We learn about the experiences of children on the move from both their and their caregivers' perspective, and we hear about the formal and informal barriers for successful healing and absorption into a new culture and place to call home. Though the title indicates that the scope of the anthology is only refugee children, some chapters also, or primarily, include immigrant children, and while this at first can be a bit confusing for the reader, it becomes clear that the lines between being an immigrant or a refugee are blurry at best and differ from country to country making it impossible to insist on a very strict categorization. The anthology is largely written in a language that makes it accessible not only for academics but for all parties interested in developing good practices for working with children who are no longer living in their country of origin.

Prof. Dr. Caroline Adolphsen
Aarhus University, Denmark

Communities around the world face challenges in how to assist the influx of refugees and immigrants, who arrive with only the clothes on their backs. They may have health problems and have experienced violence and trauma before they arrived in their new communities. They require healthcare, housing, education, jobs, financial & material support, and childcare, to name a few. Some arrive with families, but often, children and youth arrive unaccompanied and are in need of special care. Even well-intentioned and resource-rich communities may find themselves taxed as they struggle to help everyone in need. This book is framed by a human rights approach and highlights how social structures and institutional processes impact the lives of refugee and asylum-seeking children. Social institutions around the world tend to experience a similar type of challenge in serving this population. These challenges are examined in this book as recommendations for actions provided. The authored contributions present different perspectives on processes, interactions, policies, practices, and laws embedded in a variety of institutions and community social interactions. It is a reference for researchers, practitioners, and students in its presentation of academic and practitioner approaches to challenges faced by refugee children in different geographic and social contexts. Topics in this book include work on the character of transnational migrant families and communities, uses of new information and communication technologies, international frameworks of humanitarian assistance, social inclusion best practices in the integration of migrant children and unaccompanied minors, and models to provide multidisciplinary services on prevention, integration and rehabilitation integration strategies. Concepts of ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and HOPEs (Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences) are explored, along with lifelong learning as a catalyst for the sustained promotion of safe communities in the context of migration; and individual refugee needs and their family’s future wellbeing towards service to refugees that work for the individual.

List of Tables and Figures
Authors’ Biographies

Introduction: Why Community Structures and Processes Matter in the Lives of Refugee Children
Sofia Leitão
Rinova Ltd
Yvonne Vissing
Salem State University

Transnational Families - A Vulnerability of Migration
José Noronha Rodrigues
Universidade dos Açores, Portugal
Dora Cabete
Universidade dos Açores, Portugal

What Role does the General Comments of Human Rights Instruments Have in the Community Structure of the Asylum-Seeking Refugee Child? UNCRC Article 22
Tanya Herring
Salem State University

Minors and Forced Migration: Between Integration Plans and Repressive Policies
Isolde Quadranti
European Documentation Centre of University of Verona, Italy

Use of Information-Communication Technologies Among Unaccompanied Migrant Youth in Liminal Places
Blaž Lenarčič
Science and research centre Koper, Slovenia
Zorana Medarić
Science and research centre Koper, Slovenia

Human Rights and the Reception of Unaccompanied Children: The Holistic Model of ‘Homes for Hope’ in Cyprus
Dialechti Chatzoudi
University of Cyprus, Cyprus

The Right to Education of Children and Adult Refugees in Portugal
Graça Santos
Escola Superior de Educação of the Polytechnic Institute of Bragança, Portugal;
CEAD - Center for Research in Adult Education and Community Intervention
Sofia Bergano
Escola Superior de Educação of the Polytechnic Institute of Bragança, Portugal;
CEAD - Center for Research in Adult Education and Community Intervention

Services for Refugee, Asylee, and Victim of Human Trafficking Youth in South Florida
Regina Bernadin
International Rescue Committee, USA
Cristobal Pérez
Independent Scholar
Raúl Fernández-Calienes
St. Thomas University, USA

Resilience in Liberia: An Initial Study
Greg Carroll
Salem State University
Allan Shwedel
Salem State University
George Weagba
United Methodist University, Liberia
Joe Buttner
Salem State University
David Mercer
Salem State University

Safe and Empowered Communities: Ending FGM Investing in Migrant Women’s Lifelong Learning
Sofia Leitão
Rinova Ltd
Amanda Francis
Rinova Ltd
Sami Atif
Rinova Ltd

Integration is the Process of Accumulating Micro Integrations Over Time
Richard Thickpenny
University of West of England; Aston University; The New Penny Ltd

Yvonne Vissing
Salem State University
Sofia Leitão
Rinova Ltd


Sofia Leitão, Ph.D., is a Sociologist, Senior Development Manager at Rinova Ltd (UK), Senior Advisory Board Member at “Hope For Children” CRC Policy Center (Cyprus). Sofia’s work reflects her interest in children’s agency in matters related to their spheres of action. She is particularly interested in raising awareness on the Rights of the Child; in developing learning programmes promoting child-friendly practices, children’s entrepreneurship, social inclusion and participation; non-formal education with an emphasis on storytelling and the use of media and arts as means to enhance self-expression and learning. Sofia has directed the development and implementation of numerous programmes in the field of the Rights of the Child, including the transnational programme INTEGRA: Multidisciplinary Mentorship program to support the entrepreneurship of children in care and young care-leavers; BASE: Migrant and Refugee Child-friendly Support Services in cases of sexual and gender-based violence; HIT: Hate Interrupter Teams (funded by the Rights, equality & Citizenship programme of the European commission); FATIMAII: Preventing Honour Related Violence against women through Social Impact Projects and Peer Learning led by Young men.

She is the author of a book on media discourses and childhood constructions 'Desenhos Animados – Discursos sobre ser criança' (Edições 70) and co-editor of 'The Rights of Unaccompanied Minors: Perspectives and Case Studies on Migrant Children' (Springer).

Yvonne Vissing, Ph.D., is Professor of Sociology and Founding Director of the Centre for Childhood and Youth Studies at Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts. Yvonne has worked in the area of child and youth advocacy for her entire career collaborating with different child rights groups in the USA. Her work is driven by the pursuit of human rights, community-building, resiliency, peace and justice. Yvonne has worked as a teacher, researcher, consultant, therapist, award-winning filmmaker, mediator, guardian-ad-litem, and helps organizations to decrease child abuse and improve child well-being. She is a former fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health, University of Connecticut Center for Democracy, and Whiting Foundation.

Author/co-author of 15 books and hundreds of chapters, professional journal articles and other publications, including 'Children’s Human Rights in the USA: Challenges and Opportunities' (Springer, forthcoming), 'The Rights of Unaccompanied Minors: Perspectives and Case Studies on Migrant Children' (Springer), 'Children's Human Rights as a Buffer to Extremism' (Springer); 'Changing the Paradigm of Homelessness' (Routledge) and 'Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Homeless Children in Small Town America' (Lexington).

Human Rights, United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child, Clinical Sociology, Asylum-seeking refugee child, Adverse Childhood Experiences, Transnational Families, Unaccompanied Minors, Child Law, information-communication technologies, European Pact on Migration and Asylum,

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Community Structures and Processes on Lives of Refugee Children





Number of pages


Physical size

236mm x 160mm


3 B&W

Publication date

June 2023