• October 2009
  • Vol. 10, No. 8

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Resources for Working With Immigrant Youth and Families

Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services (BRYCS) recently revised its toolkit for service providers who work with immigrant youth. In Growing Up in a New Country: A Positive Youth Development Toolkit for Working With Refugees and Immigrants, authors Susan Schmidt, Lyn Morland, and Jennifer Rose present a positive youth development perspective for designing a program that will help immigrant and refugee youth succeed in school and employment. This strengths-based approach emphasizes helping youth grow into successful adults rather than just preventing problem behaviors. The toolkit pulls together articles, resources, and programs that can assist agencies in adopting a positive youth development approach to working with newcomer youth. The authors note that culturally competent programming that helps develop the strengths of these youth is critical to their success in this country.

BRYCS is funded by ACF's Office of Refugee Resettlement and is a joint project of Lutheran Immigration Services and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops/Migration and Refugee Services. The publication is available online:

www.brycs.org/documents/growingupinanewcountry-web.pdf (657 KB)

In "Unique Challenges for Immigrant Families in the Child Welfare System," Casey Family Services provides another perspective on the hurdles child welfare agencies face when working with immigrant families. In many jurisdictions, child welfare professionals are not prepared to deal with families who do not speak English, have few support systems, fear deportation, and have little knowledge of their rights as parents. In addition, a family's cultural norms may not perceive a problem with crowded living conditions or corporal discipline.

The article suggests that agencies need to conduct training on these issues and provide language access for these families, either through bilingual staff or translators. The article appears in the Spring 2009 issue of Voice, pp. 6-7, which is available on the Casey website:

www.caseyfamilyservices.org/userfiles/voicemagazine/voice-2009-spring.pdf  (1,306 KB)

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