Parent Engagement: Immigrant and Refugee Families Winnie Chow, MA Community-University Partnership for the Study Of Children, Youth, and Families (CUP)

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<ul><li><p>Parent Engagement: Immigrant and Refugee Families</p><p>Winnie Chow, MACommunity-University Partnership for the StudyOf Children, Youth, and Families (CUP)University of Alberta</p><p>Innovative Approaches to Developmental Screening Learning EventApril 22nd, 2009</p><p>Funded by the Canadian Council on Learning</p></li><li><p>OutlineContext of Immigrant and Refugee Families in CanadaCommunity Based Research Project with Multicultural Health BrokersFactors to Consider when working with Immigrant and Refugee Families</p></li><li><p>Immigrant and Refugee ContextMajority of Immigrants enter Canada under the skill worker class (56%)Employment Opportunities and Home EnvironmentCanada is home to 250 000 refugeesCanadian Transportation Loan Requirement</p></li><li><p>Lessons LearnedBuilding Relationships with Immigrant and Refugee FamiliesUsing the ASQ Tool within an Immigrant and Refugee contextConsiderations for designing Community Workshop/Program with immigrant and refugee participants.</p></li><li><p>Building RelationshipsCulture of Screening and AssessmentTime to Build TrustFamily Involvement</p></li><li><p>Using the ASQ Tool within an Immigrant and Refugee context</p><p>Ages and Stages Questionnaires (ASQ)18- and 36-month questionnaires</p><p>Squires, Bricker, &amp; Potter (1999)</p></li><li><p>Exposure</p><p>Fine Motor #5. Does your child turn the pages of a book by himself? (He may turn more than one page at a time.)</p><p> Yes Sometimes Not Yet </p></li><li><p>FeedingProblem Solving #3. After a crumb or Cheerio is dropped into a small, clear bottle, does your child purposely turn the bottle over to dump it out? You may show him how to do this. You can use a plastic soda-pop bottle or baby bottle.</p><p> Yes Sometimes Not Yet </p></li><li><p>Community Workshop/Program ConsiderationsConcept of PlayWorkshop Format</p></li><li><p>Questions?</p><p>Contact:Winnie Chow Visit the CUP website at</p><p>*</p><p>In the time we have together, I would like to share with you some of the lessons that emerged the Edmonton PDS project working in collaboration with some of the immigrant and refugee communities.We will provide:a brief context of the immigrant and refugee families in CanadaOur CBR project with the MCHB that examined the validity of the ASQ tool within an immigrant and refugee contextThen some factors for you to consider in your practice with working with this diverse population.Before I begin I would like to set up the immigrant and refugee context for you to consider throughout this presentation.The majority of immigrants come to Canada under the skilled workers class (56%). These immigrants are highly educated, have University degrees, and are selected to enter Canada based on their education and occupational skills under the points system.Based on the latest census, recent immigrants (those that have resided in Canada for 5 to 10 years) and very recent immigrants (have resided in Canada for less than 5 years) have higher educational levels than Canadian born people. For example, 1 in every 5 of very recent immigrants had a graduate degree compared with 1 in 20 for CanadiansAlthough recent immigrants are highly educated, they find it very difficult to get jobs and the unemployment rate is 11.5% which is twice that of Canadian born. Although things are changing, Alberta has a number of jobs available but the unemployment rate among immigrants is still higher than the national average (5.8%).Immigrant parents generally find work outside of their educational or professional designation, and will work 2 to 3 jobs to support their families. In terms of childcare, grandparents or siblings assume the role of caregiver.</p><p>Canada is also home to approximately 250,000 refugees whose circumstances differ greatly from skilled immigrants. A fundamental difference is in their motivation to seek safe harbour in Canada. On average, it takes a refugee a minimum of 15 years before they are accepted into Canada as a refugee. In that timeframe, refugees would have moved to at least 2-3 different refugee camps, each offering minimal services that cover the basic needs such as food, shelter and medical care. Yet in some camps, shelter is the only provision and people have gone without food for weeks at a time. When they arrive in Canada, the families and experts in our study share their overwhelming feeling of happiness and freedom.</p><p>Yet this feeling is quickly replaced with experiences of isolation and uncertainty around things we take for granted, such as where do we get food? What does this form say? How do we use these stairs?In addition to the challenges of language and cultural differences that immigrants experience, refugees have an addition burden of the Canadian Transportation Loan requirement. Has anyone heard of this policy?</p><p>The current policy requires refugees to repay the costs of their travel to come to Canada, which is on average between 3 and 5,000 dollars per person. Many refugee families are large and the average debt is upwards of 10,000 per family. Refugee families receive a letter in the mail 3 months after arriving in Canada and are expected to start repaying the load in 6 months and be finished in 6 years or they will be charged interest. I am sure you can imagine the burden that this would cause on newly arrived families who have experienced displacement, trauma, and likely have limited language proficiency, education and therefore, employment opportunities. </p><p>When you take this whole picture into account, the socio-emotional impact of these experiences will manifest itself in the school/ assessment setting. Wherein the results of testing at times may provide evidence of their depression and isolation rather than their actual ability/ skill. Therefore it is important for us to keep in mind this context to help us develop more relevant screening/assessment processes with immigrant and refugee families because when you look at tools we use in Canada, they are developed using a western standard the privilege English speakers who have been socialized within North America.</p><p>Given this context Ive shared with you, you can start to see the mounting wall of barriers that prevent immigrant and refugee parents from participating or engaging in screening initiatives such as ours. In the PDS project, AHS partnered up with the MCHB to develop cross-culturally sensitive processes to engage immigrant and refugee families in a developmental screening project. MCHB were hired on as keyworkers to work with the immigrant and refugee families. The following are lessons that emerged from the PDS project and also a study ECME partnered up with MCHB to examine the cultural validity of the ASQ tool and process of engagement within the Chinese, South Asian and Sudanese immigrant and refugee communities in Edmonton.1. Culture of developmental screening is a foreign concept for some groups (Sudanese and South Asian)-Cannot approach family with screen at the first meeting. This may scare them since they have limited understanding of what and how it is used.-Depends on families experience with testing in school.</p><p>2. Requires time to build trust-South Asian and Sudanese families commented on gaining permission from the head male of the household; grandparents and then mom.-Immigrant and Refugee families are dealing with many issues so approaching them with a screen on the first visit may inappropriate. </p><p>3. Family involvement- given current employment situation of immigrant and refugees, Grandparents, siblings and extended families know more about child development. ***Remember the context that we shared with you at the beginning about the refugee experience. Within our study, Sudanese refugees expressed the lack of educational opportunities provided to them in the refugee camp. Considering that they may spend up to 15 years (life of your education), exposure to books, pens, and pencils contributes to how assessment and screening tools and the process we engage these families will be problematic.</p><p> The Sudanese experts stated if we are not educated or dont know how to read and write how would I introduce that with my child. Women are very excited to learn English and receive educational opportunities and they talked about their excitement learning how to read and write (e.g., hold a pen and sign their name). </p><p>At the same time, we have to remember that we take for granted our understanding of print material, paper, pen and forms that we fill out as normal activity. But for many families who have experience being persecuted as a direct result of a signing forms that they could not read or understanding, filling out a consent form, personal information, etc there is a real fear and hesitancy to engage with you. So if you take within our practice in education, informed consent, if we approach refugee and some immigrant families with forms and information letters, we may be instilling a lot of fear and stress in the families and children. So in knowing this information, what are some ways we can engage the family without using paper, forms and signatures given your constraints from the government.</p><p>In our case, through ethics, we were required to obtained informed consent. We amended our process to include verbal consent and used a process that documented the consent (explain the procedure)</p><p>*What skill is this item testing?</p><p>What do you see as problematic in this item when working with refugee family from Sudan?</p><p>How about an immigrant family from India?</p><p>How about a Muslim practicing family?</p><p>**How items can build or break relationships with families. Mindful of culture, religion, and current environment.</p><p>Concept of play -Foreign concept- disassociated from learning and development-Western expectation of parent-child interaction-</p><p>Concept of Workshops-Gatherings-Focus on school readiness- given most immigrants and refugees come to Canada for a better life for their children, they want to prepare their children to be successful in school and then in life.</p><p>Programming IdeasASQ stats: Most delays in Fine Motor and Communication.Parents want to learn how to bridge two worlds</p></li></ul>


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