Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Child Migration and Social Policy Research Group
Crisis, Mobility and New Forms of Migration
New Forms of Migration Conference
University College Cork
Oral Presentation
Optional Fields
This paper analyses the contradictory experiences of children living in direct provision with their families. While they are entitled to attend pre-school, primary and secondary education, their futures are closely tied to the uncertain refugee application of their parents. They are partially integrated with Irish society and yet held at length at the invisible internal borders of Ireland. While the State, in response to national and international legislation, provides grossly inadequate accommodation and basic access to education, it also holds the threat of deportation over the heads of children, if their parents/guardians fail to gain refugee status or a right to remain in Ireland. This paper draws on research undertaken in 2011 with mothers of children living in direct provision and a later phase of this research,undertaken in 2012, with teachers, early years practitioners and professionals whose work brings them into contact with parents/guardians seeking asylum, and their children. The two phases of this research makes clear the barriers that present to children and their parents in making everyday transitions from accommodation centres to education centres, as well as the attitudes and perceptions of professionals towards this group of children. Results indicate that mothers negotiate the complex territory of their migration status and limited access to resources, in attempting to ensure that their children have opportunities for educational and social engagement. In so doing, they face state-induced obstacles that limit their agency. On the other hand, through co-operation with other mothers, networking with community based groups and communication with individual professionals, they contribute to constructing a protective environment for their children. Results also highlight differences in approaches and perspectives of early years practitioners and primary school teachers, indicating a more responsive and holistic culture in early years settings than in primary schools.