Legal protection for minors regardless their status and nationality is available in international, European and national law. However, in the case of unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) the available legal provisions do not effectively translate into accessible protection and care. The first chapter analyses the institutionalization of the UASC category itself and the potential conflicting representations attached to it. Chapter II provides an overview of the international, European and Italian legal frameworks. Chapter III interrogates the characteristics and weaknesses of the Italian reception and protection system for UASC. Drawing from the findings, the final chapter attempts to interpret the incoherence between rhetoric and practice. Although Italy adheres to universal standards of child protection, the inability to develop holistic interpretations of principles such as the best interest of the child and the right to participation inhibit adequate practices of implementation. Generating meaningful and coherent policies for UASC requires the simultaneous reconceptualization of childhood and migration.