A National Strategy to Meet the Needs of GAR Children and Youth within RAP - Final Report

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Link: http://atwork.settlement.org/downloads/atwork/GAR_Children_and_Youth_Services_Final_Report.pdf
Org: Kappel Ramji Consulting Group
Date: 2007

This report highlights the needs that Government Assisted Refugee (GAR) children and youth have in their resettlement process in Canada and recommends that CIC implement a comprehensive national strategy to meet those needs.

Background

In 2006, Citizenship and Immigration Canada Resettlement Assistance Unit (CIC) commissioned an Inventory of the existing Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) services. The Inventory highlighted a number of gaps in services for GAR children and youth who make up about 45% of the GARs served by the RAP program each year.

What is New or Significant in this Report?

The report's recommendations would likely result in significant changes in the way that RAP is run (already an existing process). As well, it is a significant shift in focus to ensure that the needs of GAR children and youth are met independently of their family or parents' needs.

The notion of a national strategy to meet the needs of GAR children and youth has the potential to influence a more comprehensive strategy and programs to meet the needs of all newcomer children and youth in Canada.

Much has been written regarding the needs of newcomer youth (although not as much on refugee youth) and it is useful to review this new material within the framework of recommendations made in the past (see AtWork section on Youth).

The Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) program is referenced as a resource for RAP and GARs. Read about SWIS services and initiatives.


The authors assert that given "that there is no dedicated funding from CIC for programs /services targeting GAR children and youth" and, given that "the breadth and depth of issues and challenges facing GAR children and youth point to the urgent need for a comprehensive national strategy... a holistic concept comprised of 5 key components is being proposed.

The components are:

  • Orientation and Life Skills - overseas pre-departure and once in Canada
  • Family Case Management with a focus on children and youth and an emphasis on school support if needed
  • Comprehensive physical and mental health assessment and follow up
  • Childminding
  • Community Capacity Building through partnerships to facilitate access to after school and summer programming, sport and recreational opportunities, youth leadership/ employment and parenting programs."

The authors focused on the following five areas for their data gathering::

  • Basic needs
  • Family Relations
  • Social Development
  • Education
  • Health (mental, physical, emotional)

Recommendations and Conclusions

This report recommends that a national strategy to meet the needs GAR children and youth be implemented by CIC to ensure successful resettlement.

According to the authors, "the proposed National Strategy is an ambitious plan to remedy an existing situation in which most RAP services are targeted to only 55% of GARs arriving in Canada each year ? the adults. When the nine (9) recommendations that have been made are factored in, we have the full National Strategy. It is comprised of 5 key components delivered over a 12-month period and is funded directly as current RAP is. All elements of the strategy are funded so that it is a holistic approach and there are adequate funds for comprehensive capacity building. To enhance the educational experience of GAR children and youth, ISAP would initiate SWIS types supports for GAR children in all 23 sites and/or enhance existing SWIS services in those sites where it already exists. Finally, the initiative would be fully evaluated so that it can be adjusted and improved as more learning and experience is gained through the pilot phases."

As well, they suggest that "... the National Strategy is based on the assumption that in each community, HOW it is delivered will be unique and will vary depending on several variables - the size of the community, the type of agency that hosts the RAP program, and the RAP model of delivery." However, they propose a framework for all organizations to follow, to ensure adequate monitoring and evaluation for consistency of service delivery across the country.

Key Recommendations:

  1. Extend and fund the RAP program for a 12-month timeframe.
  2. Flow funds for the National Strategy for GAR children and youth in the same manner as current RAP resource allocation.
  3. Ensure that the transportation costs of all GAR children and youth are covered as part of the 12 month settlement stipend and that consideration be given to forgiving all or part of the loan that GAR families are obliged to repay.
  4. Fund all components of the National Strategy for GAR Children and Youth so that it retains its holistic reach and depth, guided by family-centered case management.
  5. Fund the National Strategy based on unique proposals from each Service Provider Organization (SPO) about how it will meet the specific objectives that the Strategy targets. Assess each proposal based on the following principles:
    • Continuity of a responsive Case Management Team (CMT) and specific services for GAR children and youth for the duration of a 12-month RAP.
    • Clear funding and lines of accountability to CIC resettlement branch.
    • Effective and efficient leveraging of existing funding from other related sources e.g. ISAP, LINC, Host, Adult Life Skills Training etc.
  1. In those RAP sites where SWIS exists, lobby ISAP to increase the attention paid to GAR children and youth by increasing the funding allocation for GAR specific activities/interventions.
  2. Ensure that Capacity Building efforts are adequately funded so that those necessary supports that SPOs cannot/should not provide can be effectively accessed for GAR children and youth.
  3. Evaluate the National Strategy after the first 3 years of implementation to determine the degree to which the outcomes are being achieved and make adjustments to the model that are necessary to better reach its objectives.
  4. Given the wide range of differential needs related to supports and services, that all 5 elements of the national strategy be funded based on unique proposals from each SPO. In order to confirm the best approach to each of the elements, however, in the first 3 years CIC should deliberately fund various pilot initiatives to test different ways of delivering Case Management. Evaluate the pilots after 3 years to determine if there are approaches that are yielding better results than others so that funding outcomes and resources can be adjusted.
Complete Report
Language
English
Format
This report is available for download in Adobe Acrobat PDF format (445 KB, 113 pages).

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