Importance of retaining “home language” of children

From the Toronto District School Board, “Research shows that children who have a strong foundation in their home language acheive greater success at school.  Click to watch a film that will suggest different activities that parents, guardians, and caregivers can enjoy together wtih children to encourage development of the home language and ultimately greater success at school”.

Visit for many useful resources and information on this important issue.

Settlement workers in schools

Settlement Workers in the Schools (SWIS) is a partnership of Ontario school boards, the settlement sector and Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Ten SWIS programs operate in Ontario.

School is one of the first public institutions that children and families encounter. A program like SWIS has an ideal opportunity to support immigrant integration by introducing newcomers to their new community and connecting families with information, resources and support as they navigate the school system.

This fall, SWIS will again be delivering Newcomer Orientation Week in 60 schools across Ontario, including a French language counterpart, SONA. New this year, a middle-school program, WIN (Welcome and Information for Newcomers) will be piloted in 16 schools in Ottawa, Peel, Toronto and Windsor. For more information on SWIS, including their latest newsletter, see

Coming soon to ~ full contact information for all SWIS sites.

Call for papers: FRP Canada journal

The Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs (FRP Canada) publishes an occasional journal entitled Perspectives in Family Support. FRP has issued a call for papers for its third volume of Perspectives, to be released in March 2010. Vol 3 will address issues relating to the family support sector welcoming and supporting newcomer families. The volume hopes to increase the knowledge of practitioners and others who work with newcomer families.

Contributions are invited from family support practitioners, researchers, academics and others with an interest and expertise in this topic. Proposals from graduate students are encouraged. Articles should be a maximum of 3000 words in length, but may be shorter depending on the topic. Interested? Contact Kim Hetherington: by September 11, 2009.

Final papers due October 31, 2009.

Which way home: Documentary on unaccompanied children

Which Way Home tells the story of several unaccompanied child migrants as they journey through Mexico en route to the United States via a freight train they have nick-named The Beast. Directed by Rebecca Cammisa, the film tells the stories of “children like Olga and Freddy, nine-year old Hondurans who are desperately trying to reach their families in Minnesota, and Jose, a ten-year-old El Salvadoran who has been abandoned by smugglers and ends up alone in a Mexican detention center, and focuses on Kevin, a canny, streetwise 14-year-old Honduran, whose mother hopes that he will reach New York City and send money back to his family. These are stories of hope and courage, disappointment and sorrow” (Source: listserv).

Airs Mon Aug 24/09 et/pt at 9pm on HBO.

The future for refugee children/Refugee futures conference

The partnership of the International Metropolis Project Canada, the Australian Multicultural Foundation and the Monash Institute for the Study of Global Movements presents Refugee Futures Conference 2009, from Sept 10-12/09, to be held at Monash University in Prato Centre, Italy.

The conference will be attended by policy makers, academics, administrators and service providers and will address the future challenges of refugee movements and settlement, including environmental refugees. is pleased to see a session on refugee children, chaired by Jeff Crisp, UNHCR with speakers Su-Ann Oh, Room to Grow Foundation, Thailand and Dr. Stepan Kerkyasharian, Community Relations Commission, NSW, Australia. From the program:

The future for refugee children

Perhaps the best barometer of the state of the global refugee regime is the future it affords children and youth brought into its midst. Apart from basic necessities, key factors affecting the future for refugee children include protection from violence and abuse, opportunities for education,and social supports for themselves and their families, among others. What if we were to also include the availability of livelihood opportunities for their family and community, or perhaps even more to the point, the prospect of a solution to their plight within their lifetime? What would the answer be for the majority of refugee children today? Is it likely to improve over time? What can the international community do to improve outcomes? What is at risk if we cannot provide a better answer?

Ontario gov’t consultation on live-in caregivers and other ‘temporary’ workers

The Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) has released a consultation paper on temporary foreign workers and is inviting comment from interested stakeholders.

The paper, entitled A Consultation Paper on Foreign and Resident Employment Recruitment in Ontario, addresses live-in caregivers. From the Minister of Labour, The Honourable Peter Fonseca:

“…I have personally attended community roundtables for caregivers, where I have heard disturbing stories about the treatment of people who come to this country hoping for a better life for themselves and their families, yet fail to realize their dream or pay too high a price … live-in caregivers, come to Ontario through programs designed and administered by the federal government. In my discussions with caregivers and those who advocate for them, it has become clear that these programs create situations where vulnerable workers are ripe for exploitation. While Ontario will continue to help improve the working conditions of vulnerable workers, the federal government must do its part and address the flaws in the LCP and other programs”.

To submit comments, fax the MOL at 416.314.5855 to the attention of “Foreign and Resident Employment Recruitment”, mail to Foreign and Resident Employment Recruitment, 400 University Ave., 12th floor, Toronto ON M7A 1T7 or email Deadline is August 21/09.

Related resource: Are you a caregiver in the Federal live-in caregiver program? information sheet.