Is living overseas with children worth the risk?

“With great risk often comes great reward.”

To gain the reward, we must mitigate the risk.

TCKs at Risk


This white paper is available for free; please enter your email address below to begin the download.
Though the data found in our study is sobering, our message is one of hope. We do not see these as unsolvable or insurmountable challenges, nor do we believe that the solution is to remove the factor of living a globally mobile life. Instead, research shows that simple intentionality in parenting, policies, and procedures can mitigate the risk and increase the chances of positive, healthy outcomes for Third Culture Kids.

TCKs at Risk: Risks Factors and Risk Mitigation for Globally Mobile Families
In 2021, TCK Training conducted a survey of over 2,000 Third Culture Kids (TCKs) to learn more about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in the TCK population. After months of data analysis we published our first white paper in June 2022, Caution and Hope, which shared some of the information we gathered and how it might be applied. Following more months of data analysis, our second white paper, TCKs at Risk, will be published on December 8th, 2022.Caution and Hope dealt with the big picture of ACEs in TCKs. TCKs at Risk looks at each specific ACE factor, and how they are experienced by different sub-sectors of the TCK community. The ten ACE factors are divided into two categories: child maltreatment, and household dysfunction. Child maltreatment includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, and emotional neglect. To this we added two additional factors which are not included in the ACE score: child-to-child sexual abuse and grooming. Household dysfuction is about the impact of a child’s home environment—what adults in their home experienced: mental illness, parental violence, separation or divorce, incarceration, and substance abuse.

In TCKs at Risk we explore each of these 12 factors individually, looking at changes by age (TCKs born before/after 1980), differences in the reported rates of certain factors by sector or education, and the impact of extreme mobility.

We also look at the rate of ACEs overall for those who reported a certain factor, and how rates of child maltreatment were impacted. We also discuss methods for risk mitigation suitable for parents, schools, sending organizations, and all caregivers with responsiblity for globally mobile children.

Here is a quote from TCKs at Risk:

"As families embark on a globally mobile journey, it has been common to draw their attention to the numerous benefits of the TCK lifestyle. Parents are encouraged not to worry about their children as a litany of ways the TCK life is richly rewarding is extolled to them. While this is not inaccurate, a key oversight lies in the common knowledge that great reward comes from great risk.

What has been historically overlooked is the great risk that is equally associated with the TCK lifestyle. Our focus on this risk is not to dissuade people from the globally mobile lifestyle. On the contrary, we want to empower parents, caregivers, and all others responsible for TCKs in the world with risk mitigating strategies. We want to create a strategic risk mitigation plan to decrease the exposure and impact of the risk inherent in the globally mobile lifestyle. We want all globally mobile families to reap the rewards of this lifestyle with intentional measures in place to minimize the toll it takes. In order to accomplish such a feat, we need to be intimately familiar with the risks globally mobile families are facing."

So we embarked on a journey to answer the question, “How can we keep the risks and challenges from hindering the benefits of the TCK life?”

We also created this infographic to share some key information from TCKs at Risk:
Empty space, drag to resize
How to Cite:
Crossman, T., Vahey Smith, E., & Wells, L. (2022, December 8). TCKs at Risk: Risk Factors and Risk Mitigation for Globally Mobile Families. Retrieved from

The TCKs at Risk white paper is available for free; please enter your email address below to receive a download link.
Empty space, drag to resize