Call for papers: Children & migration in Africa

From the H-CHILDHOOD@H-NET.MSU.EDU listserv:

“CFP: AEGIS Thematic Workshop: Children & Migration in Africa: an Interdisciplinary Perspective In association with the Centre of African Studies (SOAS, University of London); the Institute of Historical Research (University of London); and Institut des Sciences Humaines (University of Liège – Belgium).

“While African children are heavily involved in migration, they remain obscure in scholarly literatures dominated by the male labour migratory model. Furthermore, work on young migrants often conflates the social categories of ‘child’ and ‘youth’ and children themselves are divided into the binary states of agents or victims.  Although recent scholarship on children and migration in Africa has acknowledged the importance of African children as discrete agents in migratory processes, analytical shortcomings remain. Much of this research has lacked a longue durée perspective.

“The key aim of this workshop will be to connect contemporary and historical analysis of the migratory trajectories of children in several African societies.  Papers could address, but are not limited to, the following issues: patterns of fosterage; child circulation within Africa and between Africa and Europe; the role of education; child labour; and conceptions of place and ‘home’.  The workshop will take place at SOAS (University of London) on 24-25 May 2012. There is a ceiling of 20 participants and limited funding, with priority for Graduate Students and African Scholars.

“Interested scholars should send us an abstract in English (max. 300 words) and a short bio (max. 250 words) by 29 January 2012. Postgraduate and recent PhD graduates are particularly encouraged to send in proposals. Papers will be pre-circulated among the participants and need to be submitted by 29 April 2012. Selected papers will be published in a peer-reviewed edited volume”.

Contact Info: | |

500 posts, 4 years, 3 wishes

500 Posts

Today marks the 500th post on and my 4th year blogging. And, as promised, a prize for our 500th post contest.

As explained in the About page, this blog was first set up November 3, 2007 as a volunteer contribution to the defunct Canadian Coalition for Immigrant Children and Youth (CCICY). I note that I do not now – and never have – received funds from the CCICY or another other source.

Over the 4 years that I have been blogging on immigrant children, youth, families, I have met (virtually) many individuals and learned of many organizations that support, promote and advocate for and on behalf of immigrant and refugee families and their children. Thank you (you know who you are).

When I first set up this blog, I received some criticism about the photograph in the banner. It is of British immigrant children (home children) arriving in Saint John, New Brunswick, part of the child emigration scheme from 1826-1939. The photo represents my interest in the history of immigrant children in Canada and the inspiration for my work in the area. The criticism was that immigrant children today look very different than those in the photo. Fair enough. I hope that as activists and advocates for immigrant and refugee children and families, we recognize the history of immigration policy in Canada and how it continues to impact decisions around immigration today.

Over the last four years, there have been some important milestones in immigration in Canada. Here are only a few (I acknowledge that there are broken links in some of these posts; I regret I have not had time to fix them):

2011 marked the 40th anniversary of official policy of multiculturalism in Canada. An Associated conference, sponsored by the Association for Canadian Studies and the Canadian Ethnic Studies Association was held in Ottawa this fall. We look forward to conference proceedings.

2010 was the Year of The British Home Child. As mentioned, the “littlest immigrants” as they were referred to by Kenneth Bagnell, were my inspiration as I undertook my MA in Immigration and Settlement Studies and informed the basis for my paper on international adoption, published by CERIS, the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Research in Immigration Studies.

2008 marked the 10th anniversary of the important Baker v. Canada decision which addressed the rights of four Canadian-born children to have their immigrant mother remain with them on Canadian soil, despite her foreign citizenship, illegal status, and the deportation order to return to her home country. The Court ruled that immigration officials should pay “close attention to the interests and needs of children, since children’s rights and attention to their interests are central humanitarian and compassionate values in Canadian society“.

2007 saw what will likely be the last set of comprehensive data from Statistics Canada on immigrant children specifically and home languages, thanks to the end of the long-form Census (which we took notice of and spoke against).

The issue of interculturalism as a valid alternative to multiculturalism came up in the media, in election campaigns, in coffee shops, classrooms and at kitchen tables, largely due to Bouchard-Taylor and their Commission de consultation sur les pratiques d’accommodement reliées aux différences culturelles.

The House of Commons released their report on Best Practices on Settlement Services with a few recommendations directly related to immigrant children, youth and families. We look forward to follow-up from the government of Canada in implementing these.

4 Years

Over the last four years, promoted film festivals that featured pieces related to immigration and diversity; we posted on multilingual children’s picture books; we announced relevant policy changes to, for example, the Ontario Early Learning Framework, and proposed extending the policy/program document to expressly address immigrant and refugee children; we criticized depictions of immigrants and cliched portrayals of Canada; we addressed controversies such as the introduction of the Burka Barbie, the so-called “honour killings” endemic in some cultures, and the Toronto District School Board‘s separate prayer room for Muslim students. went all-a-twitter, joining in 2008 as @immigranttalk, greatly expanding my network of fellow tweeps, who share valuable information and insight. Here are my favourites:

Top 10 Tweeps on Immigrant and Refugee Children and Youth

Top 10 Research Tweeps

Top 10 International Tweeps

Top 10 Tweeps on Immigration, Multiculturalism, Citizenship, Diversity and Inclusion was also pleased to announce numerous calls for papers for conferences as well as promote, attend and report on the series of conferences held at the University of Guelph on immigrant children, youth and families: In 2010 the theme was resilience, in 2008 the conference focused on the international aspect of migration; the theme for 2012 is happiness. We look forward to attending.

3 wishes

1. That immigrant and refugee children (birth to age eight) and their families receive the support and resources they need to succeed in Canada – with the families participating in defining what success means.

2. That the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism, continues to consult with Canadians and newcomers on the mandate and objectives of Canada’s immigration policy. Also that he continues to promote the positive influence of newcomers to Canada and that strikes a good balance between attracting (and employing in their field!) immigrants and fulfilling Canada’s commitment to family reunification and refugee resettlement.

3. That I continue to learn about immigration and refugee experiences, issues, innovations and find additional venues to share what I know.

Now – on to our contest: three entrants; one winner Rita H. Rita, please email me with your mailing address and one copy of Shaun Tan’s The Arrival which will be sent to you, via Canada Post. Thanks to Thomas and to Canadian Immigration Lawyer for participating.

Finally, thanks to WordPress – especially for its awesome search tool.

The Right to childhood

Right 2 Childhood announces a conference examining the convergence of sex, violence, the media, commerce and popular culture and the impact on children. The Right to Childhood will take place Fri. April 29th, in Sydney, Australia.

Sessions include:

From the conference brochure:

The erosion of childhood is becoming a social and cultural trend of great concern to child development experts as well as the broader community. Commercialisation, sexualisation, body image dissatisfaction and over exposure to violent imagery are some of the key factors. A growing body of scientific evidence and expert opinion has transformed the debate about this trend into an important issue with major implications for mental health, public health, education and policy. The aim of this event is to provide up-to-date and authoritative information from leading experts, share initiatives and strategies to facilitate understanding and awareness and empower participants with practical skills to address this crucial social issue. The information in this seminar is essential knowledge for teachers, counsellors, welfare workers, health professionals, parents and all those who work with young people.

Dr Ramesh Manocha, Convenor and Chairman

Save the date: The University of Guelph’s immigrant children conference

Dr. Susan Chuang will once again host an On New Shores immigrant children conference from the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition at the University of Guelph in 2012.

The dates are October 25-26. The theme is happiness.

The 2010 conference was comprehensive, engaging and a great way to connect with researchers, policy makers and front-line workers passionate about understanding and empowering immigrant children, youth and families.

Save the date; c’mon, get happy!

Increasing immigrant parents understanding of their children’s experiences

In their article “Vietnamese American immigrant parents: A Pilot parenting intervention”, authors Y. Joel Wong, et al. use the fish bowl facilitation approach to increase parental awareness of the immigrant child’s experiences, including how they see their relationships with their parents.

From the abstract (available online), from The Family Journal:

“After the parenting intervention, a focus group interview was conducted with eight participants to examine their reactions to the intervention. The following qualitative themes emerged from the focus group: (a) increased insight on parent—child relations, (b) need for improvement in communication skills, (c) parent—child cultural gaps, (d) issues of trust between parent and child, and (e) benefits from participation in the workshop. Quantitative findings revealed that after the intervention, participants reported greater intention to show expressive love to their children as well as increased parental empathy”.

Multi-faith calendar from AMSSA/ANCIE

Our friends at ANCIE/AMSSA (AMSSA Newcomer Children Information Exchange & Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of BC) are accepting orders for their 2012 multi-faith calendar. The calendar highlights the dates and provides descriptions of almost 400 observances and events from 14 world religions. Useful for planning purposes in early learning and child care environments and other community and social services.

To order your calendar, contact ANCIE/AMSSA here.

Internationally trained Early Childhood Educators experiences and work prospects

An Investigation of the Career Paths of Internationally Trained Early Childhood Educators Transitioning into Early Learning Programs (PDF) conducted by Shelly Mehta, Zeenat Janmohamed, and Carl Corter, the Atkinson Centre for Society and Child Development.

Some background (taken from the report):

“In 2006, the Association of Early Childhood Educators of Ontario in partnership with Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office and the School of Early Childhood at George Brown College established the Access to Early Childhood Education program (referred to as the ECE Bridging Program) to address the need to bridge internationally trained early childhood educators into the Canadian workforce and to rectify the labour force shortage in the early childhood sector. During the second phase of the project, additional funding was secured expanding the project’s capacity by providing direct services in two identified high need immigrant communities in Hamilton and Ottawa. The project added Alqonguin College, Mohawk College and Hamilton’s Affiliated Services for Children and Youth to its partnership roster. In the last decade there have been an increasing number of internationally trained educators seeking early childhood equivalency in Ontario (AECEO 2011). Despite a wide variety of education credentials and professional experience, like other immigrants, early childhood educators with international training are not recognized by employers for their knowledge and expertise. As a result, the ECE Bridging Program was developed to provide an opportunity to combine international education with relevant early childhood courses in Ontario that would lead to ECE credential equivalency”.

This research examines the pathway to employment in the field of early childhood education (ECE) for internationally trained practitioners and the experiences of internationally trained professionals in the ECE Bridging Program.

Call for study participants: The Cultural experiences of immigrant Arab youth in Canada

Doctoral student, Sarah Rasmi, University of Guelph, is conducting a study examining the cultural experiences of immigrant Arab youth in Canada. From the call post:

“There are many Arabs coming to Canada, but the research community does not know much about your experiences. Participating in this study will give you a voice and extend our understanding of the Arab Canadian community. When we know more about a community, it becomes easier to tailor programs and services to meet its needs. Please help by participating today”.

The study is seeking Arab youth, 18 to 25 years old and in Canada less than 10 years ago. For more information and to participate, please visit Ms Rasmi’s facebook page.

Study participants will be entered into a draw to win 1 of 2 $250 cash prizes.

For more information, contact Sarah Rasmi ( or Dr. Susan Chuang (

Canadian Council for Refugees fall consultation ~ call to youth participants

The Canadian Council for Refugees Fall Consultation (to be held Nov 24-26, 2011) this year is on the theme of independence. Youth are being encouraged to participate.

An orientation for youth will be held Wed, Nov 23rd, 7:30-9pm to meet other youth and find out about the CCR, the CCR Youth Network and the fall consultation.

Workshops include sessions focusing on:

Youth-led projects to debunk myths about newcomer youth

Canada’s violation of migrant youth rights

Digital storytelling


Migrant youth in care.

Have a look at the provisional agenda.

A Youth Caucus has been/is being established to discuss refugee and immigrant youth across Canada to answer questions such as: What can we do locally to address issues faced by refugee and immigrant youth? What issues should the CCR Youth Network focus on? On Sun Nov 27 the CCR Youth Network will meet to debrief and create action plans to move forward within communities.

Special registration rates are available for all youth delegates between 18 and 25 years old. Register by Nov 4th to get early registration rates and the first 30 Montreal area youth to register by Nov 4th get in free!

For more information, please see the CCR Spring Consultation.

Predicting peer interactions among diverse children

New research from Childcare & Early Education Research on how classroom dynamics predict peer interaction among diverse children (diverse in ethnicity and home language). From their website, this description of the research:

“The researchers of this study tested a model designed to predict the peer interaction behaviors of preschool children of diverse race, ethnic, and home language backgrounds. The model itself used dimensions from the classroom, such as group size, affective climate of the classroom, teacher management, and other factors related to teacher-child relationship quality. As part of the National Evaluation of Early Head Start, eight hundred children were observed in classroom settings interacting with their peers, and the various classroom dimensions were observed as well. The researchers found that classroom dimensions had a significant impact on peer interaction behavior. For example, children in classrooms with smaller group sizes were more likely to engage in pretend play, and less likely to be a victim of peer aggression. In addition, children in these smaller classrooms were rated as less aggressive, as well as less anxious. In classrooms with lower peer climates, children were more likely to be the victim of aggressive peer behavior”.

Head Start and National Center for Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness working together for refugee children

US-based BRYCS (Building Refugee Youth and Children’s Services) shares a policy brief and list of resources related to the collaborative work being done by Head Start and the National Center for Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness in increasing access to and creating culturally competent programs for newly arrived refugee children.

A bit about BRYCS (from their website): “Since 2001, BRYCS has emphasized ‘bridging refugee and children’s services’ to promote the well-being and successful integration of refugee children and their families as our newest Americans. For many reasons—including limited funding, different legislative mandates, and cultural and linguistic barriers—refugee resettlement and “mainstream” service systems often work in isolation from each other, resulting in barriers to culturally responsive services for refugees. In past years, BRYCS has addressed these gaps by developing and implementing a collaboration model in a number of communities”.

Call for papers: (Dis)placed childhoods: Forced migrations and youth welfare policies of the 19th and 20th centuries

A call for papers from La Revue d’histoire de l’enfance “irrégulière” est spécialisée dans le champ de l’enfance et de la jeunesse marginales ou marginalisées/Journal of the History of “irregular” Childhood is a scholarly, peer reviewed journal focused on the history of marginalized childhood and youth.

(Dis)placed childhoods. Forced migrations and youth welfare policies of the 19th and 20th centuries. Edited by David Niget and Mathias Gardet.

From the call (posted on H-NET List for History of Childhood and Youth) “Most of the young people placed in institutions under child welfare policies were in fact displaced or imigrated. Authorities and philanthropic societies have, over the past two centuries, proceeded to displace tens of thousands of children: they were separated from families who were deemed to be corrupting, kept away from their neighbourhoods and from socialising with criminals, moved away from towns and cities to fulfill a recurring dream of reversing rural exodus,which was at first only a fantasy and which then became more and more real.

“But some children were displaced in a more systematic and planned way, not only in order to distance them from their homes, but also just to establish them elsewhere. Thus, some policies implemented a deliberate and thorough going programme of mass displacement of juvenile populations, often beyond national borders, in accordance with colonial objectives, specific political situations. These programmes can be correlated to wars and regime changes, educational and ideological utopias or specific institutional strategies. Therefore, the justification for the removal of the children from their home environment was either to punish them or to establish a utopia.

“Biopolitical issues have emerged: Was it about removing bad influences from the State or about regenerating the nation by transplanting its offspring in a healthy and promising substratum? In the name of the imperialism or colonisation, children from working-class English families were sent to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and therefore not merely the result of a political situation, or of chance selection of the most vulnerable victims. From the 19th to the 20th century, migration became a tool for the political management of populations, of which childhood is emblematic.

“This colourful but little known history raises questions for any historian:

“What is the relationship between biopolitics and childhood? How does the increasing concern to pursue a population policy, with the future planning and management of human resources of contemporary societies in mind, lead to the formulation of childhood policies within the ambit of demographics, and more specifically the control of migration flows? How do humanitarian organisations become involved with these policies?

“What is the status of childhood within the creation of State policies? From the citizen to the ‘new man’, how does childhood and youth become interpreted into political meaning and absorbed into the heart of the nation? What about the notion of the Empire and child exploitation within this colonial enterprise?

“How are gender, class and ethnicity analysed within these questions relating to migrpopulating? In the colonial enterprise, is the displacementof young orphans from cities to Africa an attempt to ‘whiten’ the colonies, or to perpetuate, with regard to Canada, Australia or New Zealand, ethnically homogenous colonies? What about acculturation goals reflected by the displacement of indigenous children?

“What organisations did support these displacements? Displacement policies, exclusive from the State, also resulted from the intervention of private, philanthropic and religious or political parties. What kindof devices did these displacement policies put in place? What kind of institutions? Were they open, closed, educational or punitive? Did they involve institutional violence and did they include compensation policies in recent years?

“What expertise was involved in this undertaking? Were demographic and economic reasons used? What was the role of social work in the identification of those to be displaced? Were medicine and psychoanalytic methods used to select young people?”.

Deadline for submissions is October 31, 2011. For more information, contact