This chapter provides an overview of the issues faced by unaccompanied child migrants in their search for safety and security. It highlights legal definitions used in national and international law, and the rights that such young people can claim under those laws. It outlines the demography of flows of migrant youth, including numbers, nationalities, and gender. The diversity of the group is highlighted, along with the way in which their treatment and experiences vary significantly depending on how they are framed by the immigration and welfare authorities that they come into contact with. The chapter examines the role of a social justice framework in understanding migrant experiences, an acknowledgement of young people’s agency, and the role of social workers and others working with young people. The chapter finishes with an overview of the subsequent chapters divided into three main sections: framing the youth migrant debate, exploring migrant youth identities, and international perspectives.
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