Issues Confronting Newcomer Youth in Canada: Alternative Models for a National Youth Host Program

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By: Paul Anisef
Org: Department of Sociology, York University
Date: 2005

This study (CERIS Working Paper Series #39) had as its primary objective the development of three models of service delivery for youth within Host and Host-like programs. The three models are:

  • Model 1: Based on the Centrality of Schooling - A youth Host model, working in partnership with schools, could infuse schools with positive energies that would be beneficial to both newcomer children/youth and non-immigrant students and staff within the schools.
  • Model 2: A Preventative At-Risk Model - ethnic-specific service provider agencies, in partnership with mainstream organizations (for example, pre-schools, daycares, elementary and secondary schools, and health clinics) could serve as reception centres for newcomer immigrant families.
  • Model 3: Targeting At-Risk Newcomer Children and Youth - development of innovative programs for disseminating relevant

information and providing immediate support services that would make use of information that is palatable to newcomer youth at risk.

A literature review and a survey of executive directors in service provider organizations by graduate students were employed to generate the models. While service providers noted an array of promising practices, only a minority indicated that formal evaluations of them were employed.

Summary and Conclusions

The results of the study suggest that a separate Youth Host program would provide an effective response to the present (and future) challenges that are faced by newcomer children and youth. The authors suggest that the development of separate guidelines and principles for matching services for children and youth should be viewed as the next logical stage in the overall evolution of the Host program.

Importantly, the authors acknowledge that, while most recent policy and media attention has been paid to skilled newcomer integration in Canada, we should not forget the children of immigrants, particularly immigrant children and youth who face multiple at-risk factors when they attempt to acculturate, adapt, and integrate.

Significantly, the authors found that many sevice provider organizations (SPOs) currently lack specific guidelines for delivering a Host program to children and youth. Rather, they have developed matching services for newcomer youth, either as part of the traditional Host or as part of related settlement programs for newcomer youth. While these practices are promising, only a minority of SPOs indicated that the scrutiny of such programs extended beyond ‘testimonials" or in-house evaluations. The authors recommend a greater emphasis on formal external evaluations before it will be possible to translate promising practices into best practices.

The consequences for newcomer youth who slip between the cracks, be it via low-paying jobs in non-challenging areas of work, substance abuse, early school leaving, or gang activities, are not positive for them or for the larger Canadian society ? where the costs can be measured in such things as the loss of talent, or human capital, and the expenditures that become necessary to deal with ‘social problems."

This study is available for download in Adobe Acrobat PDF format (595 KB, 63 pages).