The United Nations Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children course was recently launched that will be shared with learners around the world, including policy makers, practitioners and carers, in a free online course.

The course has been developed by academics and practitioners from Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS) with the support of Education Enhancement at the University of Strathclyde.

Across the globe, for many different reasons, hundreds of thousands of children cannot live with their parents.

To address this, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously welcomed the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children driven by two fundamental principles – the ensuring of both the necessity and the suitability of alternative care.

‘Alternative care’ is the provision of a safe and caring setting for children to live whilst they are unable to stay with their families. Besides, an understanding of the implications of the UN Guidelines, at a theoretical and practical level, will be explored in the ‘Getting Care Right for All Children, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), offered in partnership with the social learning platform, FutureLearn. It will be available in English with some course materials (including text and videos) also accessible in Spanish and French, reflecting the truly global nature of this issue.

The initial concept for the course was proposed and sponsored by the Geneva Working Group on Children Without Parental Care, comprising of a number of major international child protection and child care organisations.

By the end of the course, participants will have a grasp of the key principals, pillars and implications of the UN Guidelines, taking in a view from across the world.

The ‘Getting Care Right for All Children’ MOOC follows the success of the University’s ‘Caring for Vulnerable Children’ MOOC, run in partnership between both the University of Strathclyde and CELCIS, which, in its sixth run, has had over 50,000 participants from more than 189 countries since it launched in 2015.