Migration is often part of an economically beneficial livelihood strategy for transnational families. For many of the sending countries in Southeast Asia, a growing proportion of transnational migrants, particularly in Indonesia and the Philippines, are women. Many of these female migrants are married and an unknown number leave their children behind. To date, no official data exists on the number of children under 12 years of age with one or both parents absent due to migration but anecdotal evidence suggests that growing numbers of transnational migrants from the region leave children behind. Although most migrants send remittances to left-behind kin, visits home tend to be infrequent with migrants going away for two or more years at a time.
With demand from wealthy countries for domestic workers, nurses and other carers increasing as their populations age, solving care problems in rich countries may be creating a considerable ‘crisis of care’ in less developed countries. However, little is known about the multi-dimensional impacts of migration on left-behind families, particularly children. It is not known whether left-behind children themselves are more vulnerable to poor physical and mental health outcomes, or in what way, when and under what circumstances do they benefit and/or suffer from the absence of parent(s), especially when the migrant is the child’s mother. CHAMPSEA Wave 1 is the first mixed-method study aimed at filling this significant gap in existing knowledge by examining both the reconfiguration of familial support systems after parental migration and the impact on child health/well-being in Southeast Asia.
CHAMPSEA Wave 2 continues to investigate the long-term impacts of parental migration on the health and well-being of children who took part in CHAMPSEA Wave 1. The follow-up study surveyed and interviewed members of the same CHAMPSEA households in Indonesia (East and West Java) and the Philippines (Bulacan and Laguna) including children in middle childhood (then 3, 4 and 5 years and are now 11, 12 and 13) and young adults (then 9, 10 and 11 and are now 17, 18 and 19). Using the same mixed-methods research design utilised in CHAMPSEA Wave 1 that capitalizes on the complementary strengths of quantitative and qualitative methods, CHAMPSEA Wave 2 collects primary data using carefully designed survey instruments in order to create a unique longitudinal data set that will allow the investigation of multiple dimensions of children’s health and well-being.
Through the longitudinal examination of transnational migration/householding, familial care politics and left-behind children, CHAMPSEA Wave 2 aims to:
enhance knowledge on the health and well-being of children left behind in Southeast Asia when one/both parents migrate overseas for work;
examine comparative impacts of paternal/maternal migration on child health over time; and
contribute to academic, community, and policy debates in the region and beyond on larger questions relating to the feminisation of ‘care migration’ and the politics of care in sending communities, the organisation of reproductive labour within transnational households, and the migration-and-development nexus.