Building our capacity to support transitions of immigrant/refugee children and youth

BCs Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies (AMSSA) have released a report post their provincial learning exchange on the topic of Building capacity to support transitions of immigrant and refugee children and youth held this summer.

There were several goals for the event:

– to create opportunities for learning about current and emerging research and best practices

– to increase the skills, knowledge and practice of service providers who work with immigrant and refugee children and youth

– for networking, learning from each other and meeting new colleagues

– to re-energize and develop synergy amongst the different sub-sectors

– to identify emerging issues and priorities for future work and development.

The report includes background, goals and overviews and discusses what is called three big ideas for serving newcomer children and youth: Settlement, culture, and readiness.

ANCIE Bulletin: Gender roles

The latest e-Bulletin from AMSSA‘s (Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Services Agencies of BC) ANCIE (AMSSA’s Newcomer Child Information Exchange) explores gender roles.

The bulletin discusses sex vs. gender, introduces the concept of gender analysis, and how gender and migration intersect for children and youth and results in inequalities – and offers research on gender inequities in the school system, including these findings from recent research:

Gender construction in schools can create very distinct notions of what it means to be a man and a woman, with polarized attributes for femininity and masculinity;

Across most countries, boys continue to dominate classroom time and space, a practice that seems to create subdued girls and creates perceived differences between men and women;

In many countries academic performance of boys and girls is converging, but when it comes to fields of study and work there is still clustering by gender;

The curriculum, especially sex education, continues to center on biological features and refuses to acknowledge social dimensions of adolescent sexuality;

The peer culture of a classroom contributes powerfully to classroom dynamics and the focus of either gender towards academics;

Most public education policies fail to recognize the socialization role of schools. (Stromquist, 2007).

As in all e-Bulletins, there is a useful list of additional related resources.

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.

ANCIE Sept bulletin on international students

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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.

Newcomer Children’s Services in BC

The Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies (AMSSA) May 9th  AMSSA Newcomer Children’s Information Exchange, or ANCIE Bulletin, announces the release of the “Compendium of Newcomer Children’s Services in British Columbia” and links to videos and presentations from the first Provincial Symposium on Cultural Competencies: Supporting Newcomer Children, held at SFU Harbour Centre in February, 2010.

What a rich resource! The Compendium provides an overview of programs and services for newcomer children from birth to age 12. It was developed by AMSSA member agencies in BC. The Compendium includes:

•    A list of programs developed at the community level for newcomer children
•    An overview of general children’s programs that have been modified to meet the specific needs of newcomer children
•    Agencies, groups and individuals with expertise in providing services to newcomer children.

Presentations at the February 2010 symposium, linked in the Bulletin include:

•    Sylvia Helmer, UBC, ESL Consultant: Cultural Competency in the Classroom and Curriculum
•    Jim Anderson, UBC: Engaging Newcomer Children and Parents through Literacy
•    Deb Kohen and Amber Phillips, Ministry of Children and Family Development: Positive Parenting Program: Helping newcomer families understand Canadian laws and norms in discipline and parenting.

Call for papers: Mapping the landscapes of childhood

Mapping the Landscapes of Childhood will be held May 5-7, 2011 at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta.

Conference Themes and Questions (from the call)

Definitions of Childhood: invented or discovered: Who gets to define childhood? What counts as a good childhood? A “normal” childhood? How have been childhoods defined in various media (art, literature, social science, science)? By what measures? And at what historical junctures?

Indigenous theories of childhood: What alternate models of childhood and development exist? How can they be found? Interpreted? Shared? What is therole of the child and childhood in other societies? What rights, and responsibilities do they have?

Gender: How do the categories of gender and child overlap, extend, elaborate or contradict one another? How do sex, gender and sexuality shape the experience of childhood? What are the policy effects of concerns about boys at risk or girls at play?

Globalization: How do global models of childhood interact with local conceptions? Do global educational standards contradict or support local sovereignty? What are the effects of migration, diaspora, refugee status on childhood? How does globalization affect the commoditization of childhood?

Empowerment: What are the social and policy implications for a child-centred approach to human rights? How can we understand child agency in terms of violence and the law? What can empowerment mean for the very young child?

Keynote Speakers


Patrizia Albanese (Centre for Children, Youth and Families, Ryerson University)

Mona Gleason (University of British Columbia)

Allison James (Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences, University of Sheffield)

Perry Nodelman (Professor Emeritus, University of Winnipeg)

Mavis Reimer (Canada Research Chair in the Culture of Childhood and Director of the

Centre for Research in Young People’s Texts and Cultures, University of Winnipeg)

Richard Tremblay (Research Unit on Children’s Psychosocial Maladjustment, University of Montreal).

Deadline for submissions: Oct 1, 2010. See conference website for more information.

Who are the newcomer children in BC? An NCIE Bulletin

The Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Services Agencies of BC (AMSSA) in February (see immigrantchildren.ca post) launched The Newcomer Children Information Exchange (NCIE) to share information, resources and announce events related to newcomer children in British Columbia.

One of the proposed activities of NCIE was to regularly put out an information bulletin. From the March 2010 Bulletin:

The Bulletin will explore different topics related to newcomer children. There are a number of service providers, educators and researchers currently working with newcomer children to help them succeed, but their work is rarely documented. The ANCIE Bulletins will provide an opportunity to feature some of their work, strategies, service models, success stories and/or research. Each issue will also include a relevant case study“.

The March 2010 Bulletin is now available. It highlights some demographic facts about newcomer children in BC. The next bulletin will focus on English as a Second Language. Future bulletins will focus on:

  • Early Childhood Education
  • Health and Wellness
  • Refugee Children.

Newcomer Children Information Exchange – new website

The Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Services Agencies of BC (AMSSA) has launched a new website to provide information related to newcomer children. The site Newcomer Children Information Exchange includes information, resources and other items of interest in several areas:

  • Early Childhood Education
  • English as a Second Language
  • Family Dynamics
  • Health and Wellness
  • Multiculturalism and Identity
  • Adaptation and Integration
  • Schooling
  • Socio-Economics

immigrantchildren.ca welcomes this new presence in cyberspace that addresses the specific and unique needs of immigrant, refugee – all newcomer – children.

The site also features:
• A searchable database of useful research reports, educational materials, and web links
• Theme pages that provide a general overview of key issues affecting newcomer children
• The eventual home (and archive) of the ANCIE e-newsletter.

Call for papers: Southern Alberta Child & Youth Health Network conference

The Southern Alberta Child & Youth Health Network has issued a call for proposals (and other conference related items/events) for their 2010 conference “Transcultural Health Conference“.

The conference will be held May 2-4, 2010 in Calgary, Alberta and the theme this year is “Multiple Voices for Enhancing Health Equity through Research, Policy, Education and Clinical Practice”. From the call:

The first national conference held in Montreal in 2007 drew a multidisciplinary group of over 200 participants in health care, education, community work and policy. It served to identify effective models of health care and strategies for clients from diverse ethnoracial and Aboriginal backgrounds. The second national conference will expand on these themes and for each of these categories provide attendees with the opportunity to consider and explore areas such as collaborative professional practice, issues of cultural knowledge and advocacy, the development of cultural competence, and the experience of clients, practitioners and policy makers from the perspective of diversity.

For more information, see the conference web-pages and/or contact: Linda Kongnetiman
Email: linda.kongnetiman@albertahealthservices.ca, tel: 403-955-7742.

Mental health promotion for newcomers

Cultures West magazine, Vol 27, No. 1: Spring 2009 of the Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies (AMSSA) is subtitled “Promoting Mental Health for Immigrants and Refugees” and includes a strong call to action with regard to children. From the first article, on starting a dialogue about mental health and newcomers:

“…children are caught between two cultures and face regular trauma all day long. They wake up with their traditional culture, spend six to seven hours engrossed in Canadian culture and then go home where they are again encouraged to stick with their traditional culture”.

An interesting portrait of the Multicultural Outreach Counselling Program highlights the need to be responsive to the needs of diverse communities and to ensure that parent-child conflict and differences in parenting styles are addressed. This edition includes several first-person accounts and case studies to illustrate the need for culturally-competent service providers and culturally-appropriate services and programs in mental health.

Integration v. multiculturalism

Federal Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, The Honourable Jason Kenney Friday, July 10/09 announced $9.5 Million to Calgary immigrant serving organizations delivering language training. Citing once again the well-known quote by former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Kenney reiterated that “newcomers have a right to be different but a duty to integrate”. Adding:

“Our new focus is on integration. We don’t want to create a bunch of silo communities where kids grow up in a community that more resembles their parents’ country of origin than Canada”. (Source: The Canadian Press).

Calgary immigrant serving organizations were happy to receive the funds, however, no details were made available on whether or how much of this funding is allocated to children’s settlement and language training.