CU Expo 2011: Sessions on immigration, settlement and multiculturalism

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CUExpo is a conference about how community and university partnerships collaborate together to develop innovative solutions to strengthen communities.

CUExpo2011 will be held May 10-14, 2011 in Waterloo, Ontario Canada. It is expected to draw about 600 people from Canada and around the world who are passionate about the power of community-university partnerships as a vehicle for social change. Students, community leaders, researchers, educators, funders, policy makers and others invested in community-building will be in attendance.

The CU Expo movement began in Canada as a response to individuals involved in community-university partnerships needing a forum to share experiences, strategies and ideas. CUExpo2011 includes several sessions related to immigration, settlement, diversity, multiculturalism and integration (all links open as PDFs):

Wed May 11th ~ Community Voice and Relevance

It takes a village: Training community health workers in the Burundian refugee population using a community-based participatory service learning model.

Training immigrant peer researchers for CBPR on HIV/AIDS in Germany.

Tuberculosis amongst immigrants and refugees at an adult education centre: A community-based participatory research approach.

CBR within an immigrant community.

Cross-cultural lessons of engaging immigrant and refugee families in research and evaluation.

Growing community through urban agriculture: A community-university project involving senior immigrants.

Immigrant cultural values and language barriers as communication class lessons.

Settling, working, and belonging: An innovative and collaborative approach to integrating newcomers.

Churches responding to the immigrant reality in Canada: A national participatory action research project.

Thurs May 12th ~ Partnerships & Collaboration

Building multi-cultural and multi-health system partnership to conduct health research.

Recruiting low-income families into community programmes: Exploring differences in engagement strategies among ethnic groups.

Fri May 13th ~ Action and Change

Immigrant peer researchers and HIV prevention in Germany: The PaKoMi video.

Register now!

Back to school: Multilingual parent tip sheets from People for Education

People for Education has a series of useful parent tip sheets, in several languages, on a variety of topics related to starting school.

Topics include:

Starting school can be scary for kids and parents ~ Tips to help parents prepare their children for Kindergarten and Grade 1.

What is the role of the Ministry of Education, school boards, schools, teachers and school councils? Who does what.

Parent-teacher interviews ~ How to make the best use of time with your child’s teacher.

Homework help ~ How to support your child in their homework.

Health and physical education and activity ~ Physical, emotional and mental health as key predictors of future quality of life.

High School courses and choices ~ Making the right decisions.

Solving problems at school ~ Tips for parents and children if problems arise at school.

Special Ed ~ All about special education programs for children with challenges and/or learning disAbilities.

EQAO ~ What are the EQAO tests? How can parents help prepare their children?

Tip sheets are currently available in the following languages:

Arabic, Chinese, English, Farsi, French, Korean, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tamil, Urdu.

On New Shores 2010: Coping with stress in various cultural contexts

Details have been finalized for the 4th annual On New Shores conference. The theme this year is Resilience of immigrants: Coping with stress in various cultural contexts.

The conference, organized by Dr. Susan Chuang will be held Sept 30-Oct 1, 2010 at the University of Guelph, Ontario. The line-up:

Day One: Thursday, September 30

8:00 -9:00 Registration.

9:00-9:15 Welcome and introductions: Serge Desmarais, Associate Vice President and Susan Chuang, Organizer.

9:15-9:30 Dedication: Tom Luster. Strangers in a Strange Land: The ‘Lost Boys of Sudan’, Michigan State University.

9:45-10:35 Michael Ungar, The Social Ecology of Resilience: Culture, Context, Resources, and Meaning, Dalhousie University.

Morning concurrent sessions:

Beyond Stress: Immigrant women facing domestic violence, with Effat Ghassemi and Reza Shahbazi, Newcomer Centre of Peel and New Canadians’ Centre of Excellence, Inc.

Compassion fatigue: Warning signs and practical tools for prevention and resilience, with Jane Bradley, certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist.

Strategy for building resilience in immigrant youth Youth: A Two-tiered mentorship program, with Petra Okeke and Nashila Dharsh, The Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youth.

Achors Away, Anchors to Stay, with Rita Francis and Fadia Ismail, YMCA.

Parental exposure to life stress: Mechanisms of resilience in immigrant children, with Kelly Fife and Katholiki Georgiades, McMaster University.

Protection from the storm: Resilience and life satisfaction in US immigrant populations, with Vanessa Alleyne and Claire Wooloff, Montclair State University.

Early afternoon concurrent sessions:

Channels of mother-infant communication across task, development, and culture, with Catherine Tamis-LeMonda, New York University.

Mothers’ reports of fathers’ involvement with children in Mexican immigrant families in the US, with Ziarat Hossain, University of New Mexico.

Stress and resilience among Latino immigrant families, with Jo Ann Farver, University of Southern California.

The Promotion of resilience in the face of challenge among Chinese Canadian youth, with Catherine Costigan, University of Victoria.

Hostile hallways: Chinese American youth experience of peer discrimination in schools, with Erika Niwa, Niobe Way, and Desiree Qin, New York University and Michigan State University.

Ethnic composition of peer groups: Effects on Chinese Canadian and Euro-Canadian children’s adjustment, with Xinyin Chen, University of Pennsylvania.

More than a haircut: Building on strengths and mutual support at the barbershop, with Sarah Marsh, Lorraine Kirlew and Chevy King, Centre for Community Based Research, Macauley Child Development Centre, and York University.

Resilience in Sudanese Refugee Families in Canada, with David Este, Laura Simich and Hayley Hamilton, University of Calgary, and Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Immigrants raising citizens: Undocumented parents of the second generation, with Hiro Yoshikawa, Harvard University.

Later afternoon concurrent sessions:

Settlement in the early years: The Distinctive needs of young newcomer children, with Judith Colbert.

Paradoxical patterns in early academic trajectories of newcomer children in Miami, with Jessica deFeyter, Adam Winsler and Yoon  Kim, George Mason University.

Ready, Set, Go: A School readiness program supporting a successful start to kindergarten, with Sarah Liddell, Aisling Discoveries Child and Family Centre.

A Qualitative Investigation of Chinese Youth ‘Growing up in NYC’, with Uwe Gielen, Jonathan Palumbo, and Ting Lei, St. Francis College and Borough of Manhattan College.

Internal migration in Mongolia: The Meaning of being a proper Chinese citizen, with William Jankowiak, University of Nevada.

Dragon seed: A Visual tour of  NYC Chinatown, with Uwe Gielen, St. Francis College.

Fitting in: The Roles of social acceptance and discrimination among Latino youth, with Krista Perreira, Stephanie Potochick and Andrew Fuligni, University of North Carolina and UCLA.

School influences on levels of emotional-behavioural problems among immigrant and ethnic-minority youth, with Katholiki Georgiades, Michael Boyle, and Kelly Fife, McMaster University.

Day Two: Friday, October 1

9:00-11:40 Michael Ungar Workshop: Clinical interventions to nurture resilience among culturally diverse youth and their families.

Poster presentations:

Sudanese Families ~ In Honour of Dr. Tom Luster, Michigan State University.

The Influence of racialized experiences on the identities of Sudanese refugee youth, by Deborah Johnson, Andrew Saltarelli and Desiree Qin.

“My culture helps me make good decisions”: Cultural appropriation and adaptation of Sudanese refugee youth, by Desiree Qin, Andrew Saltarelli, Laura Bates et al.

Successful adjustment among Sudanese unaccompanied minors: Perspectives of youth and their foster parents, by Tom Luster, Desiree Qin, Laura Bates et al.

Fostering Sudanese refugee youth: Parent perspectives, by Laura Bates, Deborah Johnson, Meenal Rana et al.

Immigrant parents and adolescents negotiating time and space
Lynda Ashbourne, University of Guelph.

Newcomer youth from five provinces: Exploration of challenges and coping strategies, by Susan Chuang, Sarah Rasmi, Maria Garces et al., University of Guelph.

Understanding Violence and Healing: Voices of Racialized Young People in Vancouver and Toronto, by Neringa Kubiliene, Miu-Chung Yan, Sarah Maiter et al., University of British Columbia and York University.

A Model of alcohol use among Latino adolescents: Exploring the influence of generational status, by Miriam Martinez, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The Settlement sector: The Profession, by Jacqueline McAdam and Caroline Lai, Global Trek.

Inquiry in English with different proficiency: A Youth leadership program at Toronto’s Chinatown, by Yamin Qian, University of Toronto.

Acculturation and family relationships: Uncovering the narratives of Chinese-Canadian immigrant youth, by Christine Tardif-Williams,
Brock University.

Afternoon Concurrent sessions:

Promoting resilience in war-affected youth, with Chandi Fernando, University of Toronto.

Stress and resilience among Liberian and Burundian refugee adolescents and their families, with Madeleine Currie, Hiro Yoshikawa, and Steven Weine, Harvard University.

Impact of war on teaching and relations among teachers of Buduburam refugee camps in Ghana, with Salome Priase Otami, Christiane Noi-Akwei1 and Benjamin Aflakpui, Central University College, Cape Town, South Africa.

Conceptualizations of resilience in refugee mental health, with Laura Simich and Wade Pickre, Ryerson University and Central for Addiction and Mental Health.

Conceptual and methodological issues for studying immigrant child mental health and school achievement, with Katholiki Georgiades, Michael Boyle, and Kelly Fife, McMaster University.

Diversity in action: Adapting mental health services in Canada, with Anne Dupré, Psychology Foundation of Canada.

El Vaivén: Return migration and education in Puerto Rico and Mexico, with Sandra Soto-Santiago and Luis Moll, University of Arizona.

Transnational entrepreneurship: Immigrant family perspective, with Benson Honig, McMaster University.

4:00-4:30 Future directions & Concluding remarks

To register, or if you have questions, contact: Dr. Susan Chuang, schuang@uoguelph.ca | 519-824-4120, ext. 58389.

Call for papers, part 2: Harvard wants to hear from immigrant children and youth

The 2nd call from the Harvard Educational Review, HER (see above), is specifically made to immigrant children and youth (Source nameorg.org listserv):

How has my family, school, and/or communities impacted my educational goals and experiences in the United States? To All Children & Youth Growing Up in Immigrant Homes and Communities

“Dear teachers and students, The Harvard Educational Review (HER) is planning to publish a special issue on Diverse Experiences of Immigrant Children and Youth in Education in order to extend and reframe the dialogue on immigration issues in the United States by bringing multiple voices and perspectives of researchers, practitioners, families, and students in conversation.

“As part of this project, we are looking for personal essays, stories, and visual art from children and youth who have been directly shaped by immigration experience.

“Student writers could be a child of immigrant parents or have immigrated to the U.S. with or without their families. We are interested in publishing stories related to children and youths’ educational experiences, and in particular, how these experiences are shaped by their families, communities, religious institutions, community organizations, or society at large.

“While the topic of immigration is always relevant, the recent enactment of new immigration laws in Arizona and the surrounding protests, debates, and legal battles, have once again thrust this ongoing theme into the forefront of our collective consciousness. Unfortunately, the discussions surrounding this and other immigration-related news stories tend towards simplified understandings of immigration and the immigrant experience, and often portray immigrants and their children as a national crisis, or burden that must be managed, rather than as a complex, rich, and growing part of our national fabric. Equally important, the voices of immigrants, and immigrant youth especially, are too often excluded from mainstream media, policy, and academic outlets even in discussions of education, where youth experience is central. Contrary to such approaches, we as the editorial board of HER summon other immigrant stories left untold, and at times, silenced by seeking the direct involvement of young people as authors and experts on their lives and
educations”.

Proposal submission information:

“We are accepting submissions from PreK-12 students whose lives have been touched and shaped by immigration experience anywhere in the U.S. We are particularly interested in stories related to educational experience, but we realize that “educational experiences” can occur in many locations besides schools.  We are open to receiving multiple types of personal stories about growing up in immigrant homes and communities. However, we are not looking for an overall generic essay about your entire life. Rather, we are looking for specific in-depth stories you choose to tell with illuminating details and rich descriptions”.

For submissions and questions, e-mail HER at the following address: HER_youth_submissions@gse.harvard.edu

Proposal Submission Deadline: December 15, 2010.

Mothercraft’s course for settlement workers: Caring for Canada’s Children, Year 2

Mothercraft, with funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, will  offer a 2nd year of their ‘Caring for Canada’s Children’ webinar/in-class course for practitioners working with newcomer children and families. The series builds on year one and will “delve further into the issues that many newcomer families face through the immigration process. This examination will be done through presentations, case studies and practical interactive learning opportunities” (Source: Email blast to former participants).

Archived presentations from Year 1 are available here in English and also here in French.

Year 2 offerings:

  1. Building cross-cultural competence (Sept 22, 2010)
  2. Building trusting relationships with families: Towards a motivational understanding of change (Oct 13, 2010)
  3. Promoting children’s mental health (Nov 10, 2010)
  4. Understanding attachment: How early relationships influence the brain’s architecture (Dec 8, 2010)
  5. Building circles of support through service coordination (Jan 19, 2011)
  6. Developing relationships with child welfare services (Feb 16, 2011).

For more information, including how to register, visit the Mothercraft Caring for Canada’s Children website.

Caring for newcomer children: Tip sheets from CMAS

The Childminding Monitoring, Advisory and Support initiative (CMAS), the federally funded organization mandated to monitor and support childminding services associated with LINC programs (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) has produced a series of tip sheets for both caregivers of newcomer children, and administrators of childminding programs.

The current set includes “Inclusion in Newcomer Children’s Programs” and “Building the Caregiver Infant Relationship”. Download the PDF tip sheets here.

House of Commons report: Best practices in settlement services

In March, 2010, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration released their report “Best Practices in Settlement Services“. It includes six recommendations:

Recommendation 1: The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada develop a proposal for an interactive website on best practices in settlement services. The aim of the proposal should be to have an operational website in fiscal year 2011-2012.

Recommendation 2: The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada, through Citizenship and Immigration Canada, judge joint proposals for settlement funding favourably and indicate this clearly on the application form.

Recommendation 3: The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada continue to support and expand Local Immigration Partnerships in Ontario and explore the potential of local immigration partnership pilot projects in other interested provinces.

Recommendation 4: The Committee recommends that, subject to provincial jurisdiction, Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Modernized Approach to Settlement Programming should be flexible such that business and self-employment support programs can be included in the theme of “labour market participation;” and mental health and family counselling can be included in the theme of “support services”.

Recommendation 5: The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada permit greater flexibility in determining the length of time individuals are eligible for particular settlement services.

Recommendation 6: The Committee recommends, subject to provincial jurisdiction, that the Government of Canada include trauma counselling and school support as eligible activities under the Resettlement Assistance Program.

Children were mentioned a few times in the report.

One of the witnesses to the committee spoke about the value of child-minding services being available alongside the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program. While safe and adequate ‘care’ for children of LINC participants is important, the government of Canada is missing an opportunity to support newcomer children in their own settlement and integration process. Beyond the current child-minding and ostensibly custodial care service, a comprehensive early learning and child care program that meets the specific settlement and integration needs of newcomer children – with consideration to the child’s age, developmental level and an understanding of the child’s migration journey – would well serve Canada and Canada’s youngest citizens-to-be.

Indeed, other witnesses spoke of the success of programs for school-age children. In BC. Langley Community Services Society provides “intensive early childhood development support as well as orientation and assistance in settlement”. I applaud this program, but the government of Canada is missing the optimal window for learning if it only funds such programs for children of school-age. We know that the early years (birth to age six) set the foundation for the child’s lifelong health, behaviour and learning.

Under Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s new Modernization Approach, funding is available in six areas: 1.Information and orientation, 2. Language and skills development, 3. Labour market participation, 4. Community connections, 5. Needs assessments and referrals, and 6. Support services.

Currently, child-minding lands in the “support services” theme, but I’d argue that quality early learning and child care, with particular attention to the settlement and integration needs of even the youngest of newcomer children fits in all of the six areas and warrants more investment from the federal government.

1. Information and orientation.  Children and parents alike need information and orientation to their new community. Even the youngest child benefits from a deliberate orientation to Canadian customs, expectations and values. The trick is to deliver such programming in developmentally appropriate ways. Luckily, Canada has trained Early Childhood Educators who can (and do) provide this. Parents require information and orientation about the same things, but at a higher level. In order to support their child’s growth and development and learning, they also need to learn about the range of services and supports available for young children in their community.

2. Language and skills development. An obvious area for both children and adults with the important  stipulation that the child’s home language(s) be supported and promoted while learning English and/or French.

3. Labour market participation. If the federal government, through Citizenship and Immigration Canada, is serious about supporting the labour market participation of newcomers, they must see the value in child care. Not the custodial, child-minding model, but a high quality early learning model that will support newcomer children’s entry to and success in the formal school system.

4. Community connections. An extension of the information and orientation theme, we know that social support is a health determinant indicator. Newcomer children and parents need welcoming communities. It’s an important aspect of integration.

5. Needs assessments and referrals. One of the best places to get accurate, responsive referrals is within a welcoming community that knows the family. Pulling together all of the above areas, it seems reasonable to conclude that the best referrals and clearest needs assessments would come out of a collaborative approach to settlement – and a comprehensive one that acknowledges the importance of serving children, parents, the entire newcomer family.

The committee has requested that the government table a response. When they do, I hope they add and implement a seventh recommendation: that the Government of Canada address the specific integration, settlement and language needs of newcomer children and strive to provide funding across all themes. That would be thoroughly modern.

Conference call: Migration and the global city, Toronto

It looks like Ryerson University is working to launch a research institute devoted to immigration and settlement issues. Good luck to them. As part of this initiative, they are calling for proposals for a conference entitled “Migration and the Global City”. The conference, a launch to the proposed research centre, tentatively called the Ryerson Institute on Immigration and Settlement (RISS), will be held on the Ryerson campus from October 29-31, 2010.

A call for papers has been released here. Of particular interest to immigrantchildren.ca, conference themes include; Children and Youth; Citizenship, Migration and Identity; Precarious and Temporary Status; and Settlement Services.

The conference will feature a range of activities, including day-trips to local immigrant/settlement locations, a film-documentary screening and art-show, and a possible “CIHR-funded pre-conference on immigrant and refugee children and youth” (Source: Ryerson website). Ryerson – do let us know at immigrantchildren.ca how we can support this important inclusion!

Deadline for abstract submission is June 15, 2010.

FRP Perspectives in Family Support (Spring 2010) special issue on immigrant families

The Canadian Association of Family Resource Centres (FRP Canada) has released a special edition of their journal, Perspectives in Family Support with a focus on immigrant families:

In “The Participation of Immigrant Families in the Activities of Family Resource Programs”, Marie Rhéaume reports on a research study conducted in Québéc that examined the issues and “distances” between immigrant mothers and Québécois mothers and found that, overall, family resource centres because of the “values that underlie the work of these community-based organizations, particularly the climate of respect, help build bridges between the two groups”. For more on the study, see here.

In “Taking an Advocacy With Approach”, as opposed to an advocacy for approach, Lianne Fisher argues for the importance of self-reflection of family resource practitioners who work with newcomers to recognize and resolve possible stigmatizing and marginalizing that may occur when practitioners seek to help newcomers.

An excerpt of “Phase 2 of FRP Canada’s Welcome Here Project: A Summary Report of Lessons Learned”, also available on the FRP Canada website welcomehere.ca.

The issue of cultural adaptation and/or interpretation v. simple translation is covered by Betsy Mann in “Reflecting on Issues of Translation and Interpretation”.

Researcher Dr. Judith K. Bernhard writes on “What are the Essential Elements of Valid Research? The Problem of ‘Data’ and their Collection in Cross-Cultural Contexts” from a personal viewpoint as both an immigrant to Canada and now a practicing academic in immigrant-family related studies.

An early learning framework for immigrant and refugee children

As the Ontario government launched their Best Start initiative in 2003, they struck several “expert panels” to advise them on best practices in delivering quality early learning and child care. One of the expert panels developed an Early Learning Framework, also referred to as the Early Learning for Every Child Today curriculum, or ELECT. This post explores the opportunity to adapt the framework to meet the unique needs of immigrant and refugee children.

The Early Learning Framework (ELF) provides a common framework for early childhood practitioners on what and how young children learn. It is complementary to all early childhood settings and curricula. The ELF strengthens practitioner’s ability to support young children’s early learning, growth and development.

The ELF has wide support within the early childhood community; the framework has been well received by the early childhood community and has been implemented in several locations (see the Atkinson Centre for Society and Child Development).

A settlement-focused complementary ELF, will support settlement workers in understanding and responding to the specific settlement issues of young children.

The ELF describes “how young children learn and develop (p.1)”. A settlement-focused ELF could describe how young newcomer children learn, develop, and settle. Newcomer children have specific needs, different from children of the dominant culture. The ELF does not address issues specific to immigrant and refugee children (although a background paper on diversity, equity and inclusion was prepared for and is briefly cited in the ELF). For example, in a section on brain development, a settlement-focused ELF might more fully include the research on the impact of trauma on developing brains. This is important information for practitioners working with newcomer children, especially refugee children fleeing war-torn countries and/or environmental disasters.

The ELF acknowledges the important role that families and communities play in the development of young children. A settlement-focused ELF could expand on this element and include discussion of differing values in a range of cultures and how newcomers cope with and learn to parent in a new socio-cultural context.

The ELF contains a “statement of principles… based on beliefs, values, experience and current research findings” and includes this statement “Respect for diversity, equity and inclusion are prerequisites for honouring children’s rights, optimal development and learning”. A settlement-focused ELF could begin with a similar statement but expand and ground its framework from an equity and inclusion starting point.

Using the ELF as a foundation, practitioners will share the same language as practitioners in other settings, furthering their ability to connect/liaise on behalf of newcomer children with practitioners in related sectors and therefore ease newcomer children transition into formal early learning and child care services and kindergarten.

A proposed structure for a settlement-focused ELF would mirror the ELF Table of Contents (p.3), with some changes, adjustments and additions.  For example, in addition to the section on “Understanding Children’s Development”, a settlement-focused ELF might include a section on “Understanding Settlement Issues for Children and Parents”. A glossary would be indispensable in helping practitioners understand and use a common language to discuss settlement, integration, racism, transnational families, trauma (PTSD) and etc.

The ELF itself endorses the development of a kind of settlement-focused ELF:

“Young children with different abilities, challenges, resources and cultural backgrounds and their families come together in early childhood settings. They bring unique life experiences and orientations. They and their families benefit most when they are fully included and when they feel that they belong. Children grow up with a strong sense of self in environments that promote attitudes, beliefs and values of equity and democracy and support their full participation. To include everyone, early childhood settings must encourage healthy dialogue about the principles and shared beliefs that relate to inclusion, diversity, and equity. They must recognize every child as a citizen with equal rights and unique views about how to participate in the world. To turn belief statements and principles into practice at the community level requires an infrastructure that actively promotes engagement of all children and their families (p. 12)”.

The development and use of a settlement-focused ELF would also demonstrate collaboration across jurisdictions, if jointly supported by the federal and provincial governments. Importantly, the inclusion of the core components of the ELF in a settlement-focused curriculum document would support quality early learning and care environments and outcomes for newcomer children.

I welcome expressions of interest in developing a settlement-focused early learning curriculum. See my contact info.

Listening to families: Responding to (newcomer) families

Sponsored by the Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs and the Family Support Institute of Ontario and funded by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, a trio of Ryerson University researchers have developed a book and DVD based on research they conducted with families across Canada. The results provide early childhood practitioners with best practices in working with newcomer families, families living in poverty and families with children with special needs.

For more information on the Listening to Families: Reframing Services project, visit the Ryerson University research update page.