International response to unaccompanied migrant and refugee children has a century-long history. The construction of such children as a social problem requiring professionalized attention dates to the aftermath of World War I and the rise of international social work for unaccompanied children separated from families by war, migration, or displacement. This chapter focuses on the work of the International Social Service, founded by female social workers from Europe and the US who worked collaboratively across national borders to develop and disseminate the professional methods, standards, and ethics – such as the modern casework method and a commitment to the “best interest of the child” – that continue to inform international child migration and relief work today.
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