Four questions for … Waterloo Region Immigration Partnership Council Member Dr. Elif Günçe

I asked Council Member, Immigration Partnership Waterloo Region Dr. Elif Günçe:

What’s the effect of racism, discrimination, and stereotyping on newcomer children (birth to age eight)?

They either become introvert or they learn to hate very early. But racism and stereotyping can exist in both parties. This fact is mostly overlooked. Children can learn to hate within their own family if the parents transfer their learned anger and hatred to them. And as the families try to keep their cultural identity, children are exposed to a new culture outside the family and if the family or the community at large is not supportive, they may end up in a limbo where they feel that they belong neither here nor there.

There’s much discussion on integration of immigrants. What kinds of services or supports do newcomer children need to successfully integrate in Canada?

Children need to be with their peers in the host community as much as possible and as soon as possible. I do not support their segregation within their own communities because of barriers made up in adults’ minds such as the language barrier. There is no language barrier for children! They may not know the language yet but they will learn it quickly if we do not impose ‘our’ barriers to them.

If you could influence the federal minister of citizenship, refugees, and immigration to do one thing for newcomer children, what would it be?

Create safe spaces for children where they can explore their new environment, like summer camps. But do not separate newcomer children from other children. All children of Canada (Aboriginal children, children who were born in Canada, children who recently immigrated) need to be together. They will be each other’s best support systems.

What is one of your favourite children’s books that you would recommend for newcomer children? Why?

I will not recommend a book but I will recommend this: Take the children to libraries, let them explore the world of books and the world’s books. Most newcomer children may have not seen a library in their life, neither have their parents. And libraries may become the best shelter for newcomer children.

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Dr. Elif Gunce is a Council Member with the Immigration Partnership, Waterloo Region , an Adjunct Assistant Professor at UWO Centre for Transitional Justice and Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Ontario Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and Instructor at McMaster University FHS Global Health MSc Program.

Elif blogs at Look How Small the World Is. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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immigrantchildren.ca is asking Canadian experts and advocates in immigration, settlement, refugees, and newcomers about their views on newcomer children (birth to age eight). For more interviews, see here.

Child trafficking: Canada’s historical shame

July 30th marks World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. The office of the Status of Women, Government of Canada retweeted about it, as did many others, raising awareness of the devastation committed against trafficked persons, many of them children, most of them female.


  RT According to , women & girls represent 71% of victims. Modern slavery is real, we must

 

 

 

 

From 1869 to 1932, Canada participated in a child emigration scheme hatched in the UK which saw more than 100,000 children brought into the country for labour, mostly domestic work for girls and farm work for boys. These children were not orphaned, as many were lead to believe. Their crime, or the crime of their parents, is that they were poor. The governments of the United Kingdom and Canada entered into an agreement to remove these children, often right off the street, ship them to Canada and send them to Canadians who needed an “extra hand”. Surviving ‘home children’ and their descendants tell stories of physical and sexual abuse by their ‘host families’.

The British Home Children scheme was state-sanctioned child trafficking. And despite efforts of many, and an acknowledgement from the House of Commons, the Prime Minister of Canada has not issued a formal apology for this atrocity.

Read more about the British Home Children.

Sessions on immigrant/refugee children at the International Metropolis conference

This year’s theme for the International Metropolis conference is Migration and Global Justice.

immigrantchildren.ca has reviewed the program (to date) and have found what looks to be a fascinating workshop about children’s sense of belonging and play.

From the conference website, this description of the workshop (links added):

Integration and social belonging through play

“As migration presents a long-term, multi-faceted process of finding belonging, it presents a unique opportunity to address innovative methods for supporting immigrant and refugee children as they integrate into their new communities. By creating an environment of play – focusing on recreation and arts-based methodologies – it is possible to successfully support social, emotional, linguistic, physical, and cultural integration. Settlement has traditionally focused on the immediacy of physical basic needs, with interventions that did not necessarily place enough emphasis on the emotional needs of the whole resettlement journey. Over the last 20 years, research and practice, have proven the value of not only considering, but incorporating, arts based interventions and pro-social recreational opportunities that contribute to whole family wellness and children’s wellbeing. According to the International Play Association‘s Declaration on the Importance of Play: ‘playing is vital to the understanding, development, and maintenance of valued relationships with others. Playful interactions ‘help in understanding relationships and attachment, language, roles, and social structures.’

“It is these principles that also guide the idea that children should be considered with their own agency, capable of developing social capital in their own right, not only in relation to adults: ‘ the social capital of children in often ‘invisible’. Further, it is often seen as an ‘asset’ for future benefit, not something ‘in their lives in the present’ (Colbert, 2013). A pro social, experiential, approach to programming could employ a culturally competent and trauma informed approach to learning and development that draws on the participants innate resilience in a time of significant adjustment and resettlement.

“It has been our experience that play promotes normalcy, healing, and healthy behavioral development – as well as supports the complex process on integration into a new community following a period of crisis, trauma, or forced migration. This workshop will speak to the approaches used towards establishing a range of partnerships in order to engage children and youth in the local community, culture, and language through various forms of play, while remaining sensitive to culture and background”.

Organizer:
Fariborz Birjandian, Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS)

Presenters:
Amanda Koyama, Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS)

Shaun Jayachandran, Crossover Basketball and Scholar’s Academy
(To be confirmed).

Top 10 moments for immigrant and refugee children in Canada, 2015

10. Syrian refugee children are welcomed to Canada with a dedicated play area at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. #WelcomeRefugees starts trending! Shared by @viraniarif.

9. The 1000 Schools Challenge rallies Canadian schools to welcome refugee children. Shared by @SetAtWork.

8. StatsCan releases report on immigrant children’s performance in math vs. their Canadian-born peers. Research matters! Shared by @StatCan_eng.

7. Syrian refugee children: A Guide for welcoming young children and their families is released. Shared by @CMASCanada.

6. The UNHCR & COSTI holds a Human Rights Child & Youth Poetry Contest. Art matters! Shared by @marcopolis.

5. The 2015 Prosperity Index names Canada the most tolerant country in the world. Shared by @CGBrandonLee.

4. Forty-six visible minorities are elected in #Elxn42. If they can see it, they can be it! Shared by @Andrew_Griffith.

3. Canada elects a government with a self-proclaimed feminist prime minister, who creates a Cabinet committee on diversity and inclusion, puts refugees in the immigration portfolio, and who returns the multiculturalism file to Canadian Heritage.

2.Trent University recognizes child care champion Martha Friendly with an honourary PhD. Martha is an advocate for inclusive, culturally-appropriate child care and early childhood education for all children in Canada. Shared by @TorontoStar.

1. immigrantchildren.ca shares policy advice with new Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, The Honourable John McCallum. Shared by @immigranttalk. (Shameless self-promotion).

Documentary in development: The Deportation of innocence

The Deportation of Innocence tells the story of four children and their immigrant families in the United States as they come to terms with deportation and the long lasting effects this has had on their lives and answers the question, what happens to children after their parents are deported.

The documentary includes testimonies from lawyers, social workers, academics and who have firsthand knowledge and insight into the hardship of family separation and the challenges of reunification.

The documentary is complete, but producers have turned to crowd-funding to get this documentary out.

The Drummond Commission recommendations on immigration (and the missed opportunities to address immigrant children/families)

There has been much examination and discussion of the recommendations of the recently released Drummond Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services (struck by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Finance Minister Dwight Duncan). immigrantchildren.ca notes that the Commission has lost the opportunity to highlight and promote the importance of addressing both the needs of immigrant families with young children – and the contribution that immigrant parents can make to the Ontario economy if these needs are supported.

In the introduction, “The Economic Importance of Immigration”, the Drummond report says:

“By attracting skilled workers from abroad, Ontario can better address potential labour-market shortages. Maintaining labour-force growth, aided by successful immigrants, can help sustain Ontario’s long-term economic growth”.

immigrantchildren.ca believes that immigrant parents may be able to contribute economically by participating in the labour force, but only if they are secure in their child care arrangements. Current federal initiatives for child care are almost absent. There is an opportunity for the federal government to partner with the provinces to ensure that culturally appropriate child care is made available to newcomers.

This introduction ends with the bold statement: “In short, future trends in immigration and the degree to which Ontario can successfully integrate new arrivals into the province’s labour market and social fabric will have a significant effect on Ontario’s fiscal fortunes”. The Drummond report makes a case for ensuring that social supports are in place for immigrants in order for them to contribute to the economy through labour force participation. Child care is one such social support. We wonder how it was overlooked.

In the Commission’s section on immigration, seven recommendations are made. With respect to each of the recommendations, immigrantchildren.ca has some initial thoughts. We invite more discussion, debate and comment. (Drummond report recommendations in bold, with comments in italics following).

Recommendation 10-1: Develop a position on immigration policies that is in the province’s best economic and social interests. Present this position to the federal government with the expectation that, as the largest recipient of immigrants in Canada, Ontario’s interest will be given considerable weight in federal policy development.

What is in the best interest is the development of fully funded culturally appropriate child care system that will support immigrant parents’ participation in the labour force. The federal government should, alongside, develop federal policy on child care for newcomer families that meets the needs not only of the national economy, but the social benefits of immigrant parents participation in the workforce if there is acceptable child care available, affordable and accessible to newcomers.

Recommendation 10-2: Catalyze national discussions on immigration policy as the successful integration of immigrants is critical for Canada’s and Ontario’s economic futures.

Few programs support integration better than community-based early learning and child care programs. Situated in public schools (as proposed in the full day kindergarten program of the McGuinty government), culturally appropriate child care for newcomer children – indeed, for all children – is a key catalyst to promotion of Canadian values and an optimal welcoming point for children and parents alike.

Recommendation 10-3: Advocate the federal government for a greater provincial role in immigrant selection to ensure that the level and mix of immigrants coming to Ontario is optimized to support economic prosperity and improve outcomes for immigrants. Barring success, advocate for an expanded Provincial Nominee Program.

The PNP might also explore age of the children of immigrants recruited through it. If Canada and Ontario are to thrive, the “level and mix” of immigrants must include children from birth to age eight and a PNP is well positioned to address this gap.

Recommendation 10-4: Press the federal government to be more transparent in its refugee policies and practices and to compensate Ontario for the costs of providing additional social supports to refugees and refugee claimants.

In our discussions and recommendations for ‘culturally appropriate child care’, it must be noted that refugee children have significantly different needs than children of immigrants who choose to emigrate. Services and supports for refugee children and youth must be developed with these specific needs in mind.

Recommendation 10-6: Streamline and integrate provincially delivered integration and settlement services for recent immigrants with Employment Ontario.

Within the discussion for recommendations 5 & 6 is found the statement “Two of the key drivers of labour-market success for immigrants are a working knowledge of one of Canada’s official languages and educational credentials that are accepted by regulatory bodies and potential employers”. While immigrantchildren.ca would agree that language and credentials are key, the Drummond report misses the mark by neglecting to consider the importance of child care for any working parent.

Recommendation 10-7: Advocate for devolving federal immigrant settlement and training programs to the province…

Again, we would argue that any settlement funding agreement with the federal government should include start-up and ongoing funds for child care.

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The Commission cites a number of studies in its report including one by Mr Drummond himself that clearly articulates and recognizes the value of high quality child care. See D. Drummond, and F, Fong, “The Changing Canadian Workplace”, TD Economics, TD Bank Financial Group, 2010.

“…the higher incidence of part-time employment is caused, in part, by the cultural notion that women remain the primary caretaker of a family. As such, full-time employment is most likely not an option for many women as this would imply foregoing time to tend to household responsibilities. This also speaks to the poor state of childcare options available to many Canadians. Among comparative advanced nations in the OECD, Canada spends the smallest share of its GDP on early childhood education and care (ECEC) for those aged 0-6. At just 0.25% of GDP, this is extremely distant from the 1.5%-2% range spent by the Scandinavian countries. And since ECEC spending falls under provincial jurisdiction, the 0.25% figure is an aver- age across the provinces and is likely skewed by the heavy subsidization in Quebec where, for example, the $7 per day childcare provides for many lower income parents. Hence, regardless of the fact that Canada has one of the highest female participation rates in the world, participation in childcare services for children under the age of 3 is only in the middle of the pack among the OECD”.

Another report cited by the Commission is Fernando Mata, “The Non-Accreditation of Immigrant Professionals in Canada: Societal Dimensions of the Problem”, Department of Canadian Heritage, 1999:

“A recent example is a survey of the accreditation problems faced by immigrant women in the nursing, teaching and social work professions in partnership with the National Organization of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women in Canada (NOIVMWC). The report coming out from the survey revealed that immigrant women with professional degrees, in addition to the common problems faced by male counterparts, were more negatively affected by “lack of services and resources in the areas of childcare and language training”.

The Commission rightfully relied on a careful examination of the literature in addition to its consultations. The literature findings, including Mr. Drummond’s own work, clearly sees the value of a system of high quality early learning and child care as an employment support and a support to integration of newcomers, but it failed to include child care as a recommendation to the people of Ontario. As such, it has failed immigrant families.

Call for support: Global campaign to end the immigration detention of children

Launching now is an International Detention Coalition (IDC) campaign to stop the detention of children. Children do not belong in detention. The IDC is urgently reaching out now to all IDC members and friends, but also to refugee networks, child rights organisations and other human rights workers to make a commitment to endorse our campaign prior to the international launch in March at the UN Human Rights Council.

The IDC wants to be able to give strength to the campaign on the launch date by making a statement about the number of organisations from a number of countries support the campaign. Please read the endorsement letter below, and either fill out the embedded form.

Please share the information below widely amongst your networks – don’t forget, the IDC wants general child rights and human rights organisations to get involved too! See the campaign endorsement video.

Call for support: Global campaign to end the immigration detention of children

The International Detention Coalition (IDC) will launch a global campaign to end the immigration detention of children at the UN Human Rights Council in March this year as well as in a number of countries. IDC needs your support to build and put pressure on governments to start using child friendly procedures, or for those that already do, we need to ask them to share good practices with others. The campaign to end child detention will be open to anyone supporting this position, as laid out in a policy document on child detention based on research in five continents wherein almost 80 formerly detained children were interviewed. The central argument not to detain children, their families and unaccompanied or separated minors is based on three principles:

1. Undocumented child migrants are, first and foremost, children

2. The best interests of the child must be a primary consideration in any action taken in relation to the child

3. The liberty of the child is a fundamental human right.

This campaign then is about child rights but equally about human rights and refugee rights. This campaign focuses specifically on children detained for immigration purposes, including child refugees, asylum seekers and irregular migrants, however the IDC vision of alternatives to detention is far broader. IDC is looking for organisations to support the campaign in a number of ways: – IDC will organize a side event at the UN Human Rights Council in March 2012 to present the child focused research at a panel discussion on child detention. Also on that day, the official campaign film clip and website will be launched publicly and a number of countries will engage media with formerly detained children or by other means.

Let IDC know if you can help. – IDC also needs help with collecting more written or recorded stories, data about child detention or good practices in various countries, campaign representatives at regional and international forums and more. – IDC is looking for partners who are willing to endorse the campaign with their ongoing national or international work or directly participate in campaign activities. The alliance will be broader than just IDC members and open to everyone who can adhere to their position. Please visit the IDC website for more information on endorsement or contact Jeroen Van Hove, the campaign coordinator at jvanhove@idcoalition.org.

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

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 david.niget@uclouvain.be

Children’s rights Wiki from Child Rights International Network (CRIN)

Child Rights International Network (CRIN) has launched today a child rights wiki. From their announcement:

“Today, CRIN is launching a “Children’s Rights Wiki” to bring together all information about children’s rights in one place. The aim of the project – which is in the style of a Wikipedia – is to make the large volume of information that exists on children’s rights more accessible, to highlight persistent violations and inspire collective action. Much of the information in the new Wiki is already available on the CRIN website.

“See the Wiki here: Initially the Wiki is beginning with 41 country pages, with more to follow. They are:

Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Egypt, El Salvador, Finland, Grenada, Guatemala, Japan, Lao, Macedonia, Yogoslav Republic, Mongolia, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Serbia, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikstan, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Yemen”.

The Wiki is a web-based, multi-lingual and interactive project – CRIN welcomes comments or suggestions to info@crin.org.

ANCIE Sept bulletin on international students

Home

AMSSA – The Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Services of BC also manages the AMSSA Newcomer Information Exchange (ANCIE) and releases a quarterly e-Bulletin on a number of topics related to newcomer children.

The September 2011 bulletin is on international students; students who are in Canada on a visa or as a refugee claimant. The bulletin examines why international students come to Canada, shares perspectives from business and teachers, and provides information on how to support international students as they navigate their way through the BC school system. (Information is relevant and applicable across jurisdictions).

Visit the ANCIE page to learn how to subscribe.