The fluidity of southern African families is related to a long history of internal and external migration. Currently, HIV/AIDS is having a dramatic impact on extended family structures, with the migration of individual members employed as a coping strategy. Children's migration is one aspect of this that is often distinct from that undertaken by other household members. This article is based on qualitative research conducted in Lesotho and Malawi with young migrants and the households that receive them. It examines the processes of fragmentation and re-formation of households through the movements of children that are taking place in response to HIV/AIDS, and explores the impacts these processes have on young migrants and the households they join.