• The programme

The programme


Effects of Transnational Child Raising Arrangements on Life-Chances of Children, Migrant Parents and Caregivers in Ghana and The Netherlands

Transnational family arrangements are prevalent the world over with one or both parents located overseas and children left in their country of origin to be raised by an extended family member or friend. In some cases such arrangements are the result of stringent migration policies in Europe and elsewhere in the global North, which make it difficult for families to migrate together. In others, they are the preferred choice of family members especially in societies where child fostering is a common practice such as in many places in Africa.

Yet despite the prevalence of these arrangements, little is known about them, and especially in Africa. Family sociology studies tend to focus on migrant families that live together in the global North, while economic and migration studies that focus on countries in the global South concentrate on the effects of remittances, ignoring what migration does to family relationships.

This interdisciplinary programme investigates the effects of transnational child-raising arrangements between Ghana and The Netherlands on the three main actors involved: children, caregivers and parents by focusing on a) educational/job, health and emotional outcomes and b) how these arrangements function. It will also look at how three types of institutions: schools in Ghana, child fostering norms in Ghana and family migration laws in The Netherlands, influence and/or are affected by transnational child-raising arrangements. Four projects in Ghana and The Netherlands will answer these questions by using a multi-sited research design and mixed-method methodology.

The programme seeks to understand the following dimensions of transnational child raising arrangements:

  • How do Transnational Child-Raising Arrangements (TCRAs) affect life chances of children who remain in the country of origin, their migrant parents and their caregivers?
  • How do institutions in both Africa and The Netherlands influence TCRAs and in turn how are they affected by TCRAs?

The programme aims to answer these questions through 4 multi-sited research projects:

Project (1) studies the effects of TCRAs on the life chances of children in Ghana and the effects TCRAs have on schools in Ghana. Project (2) focuses on the effects on caregivers and investigates if and how negotiations within TCRA’s are affected by changing child-fostering norms. Project (3) looks at the other end of TCRAs by focusing on the effects on Ghanaian parents in The Netherlands and how parents’ decisions are affected by migrations policies. Project (4) studies the effect of TCRAs on parents’ integration and wellbeing in The Netherlands.

In so doing the programme addresses three important areas of scholarly and policy debates: migration and development, migration and integration and family reunification policies.

Maastricht University collaborates with the University of Ghana to carry out this programme.