Audio transcript: Working with young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds: Applying the National Youth Settlement Framework in mainstream services
Return to CFCA webinar - 28 November 2018
Audio transcript (edited)
Good afternoon everyone and welcome to today's webinar, "Working with young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds: applying the national youth settlement framework in mainstream services." My name is Kat Goldsworthy and I'm a senior research officer here at the Australian Institute of Family Studies. Today's webinar presentation will discuss recent developments with the National Youth Settlement framework and how it can be applied to mainstream youth services. Before I introduce our speakers, I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we are meeting. In Melbourne the traditional custodians are the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation. I pay my respects to their elders past and present and to the elders from other communities who may be participating today.
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It's now my great pleasure to introduce today's presenters, Andrew Cummings and Sally Thompson. Andrew is the acting national coordinator of MYAN Australia, the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network and a freelance trainer, writer and consultant who has worked in the community sector for over 30 years. His areas of specialisation include working with young people and working with refugee and migrant communities. Sally is team leader of the Multicultural Youth Tasmania program, the Migrant Resource Centre Tasmania, and the MYAN State and Territory Advisory Network for Tasmania and has a background in international and community development. Please join me in giving Andrew and Sally a very warm welcome.
Thanks very much, Kat, it's great to be here this afternoon and thanks for the opportunity to share some of our work. I've been told a lot in the past I have a great face for radio, so I think a webinar's a really good forum for me to share. Just to tell you a little bit about what we're talking about this afternoon, I was planning on just sharing a little bit about MYAN Australia to start with and then I'll give a brief overview about the National Youth Settlement Framework. I'm then going to hand over to Sally Thompson in Tasmania to talk a bit about a project that they've been working on and then I'll finish off by talking a bit about some resources that we've developed that help to implement the National Youth Settlement framework and I'll focus on those a little at the end and then, of course, provide some information about contact details and where people can find more information and resources about the framework and that should take us up to the end of our webinar.
So let me start just by telling you a bit about MYAN Australia. We are the national youth peak body for multicultural young people and our role is to promote the rights and interests of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds and to support a targeted response to ensure that their specific and unique needs are met and our vision is that all young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds can access the support and opportunities that they need to be active participants in and contributors to Australian society. We have a few roles, one of our roles is around policy.
So we do a lot of work providing advice to government. Both to elected members of government and also to government departments around the issues and needs of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds. We also have a sector development role and part of that is around developing the capacity of organisations that have a role in working with young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds and we do that through things like training opportunities, the development of resources, some of which we'll be sharing today, teleconference and webinars like this, research partnerships with a range of different organisations and we also run a national conference every couple of years. We also focus on the development of young people's leadership and advocacy skills and we do that by engaging directly with young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds.
We have what we call our youth ambassadors network which is a national network of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds who engage with MYAN through a range of different ways and who provide us with input and advice and support around their needs, around the things that we're doing and how they feel whether or not those things are actually meeting the mark and actually addressing the actual issues that young people are facing and we also run some national youth events and we have one coming up early next year called Fuse which is a three day forum that brings together young people from across Australia to meet, to network and to develop skill and you might have seen this if you signed up to the MYAN newsletter.
Those opportunities to apply for that Fuse program are open at the moment. So if people listening, if you know young people that might be interested in that event please point them in that direction. And we also offer opportunities for young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds in Australia to take part in international opportunities to advocate for their rights and interests and each year we send one or two young people to Geneva to take part in conversations at the United Nations Convention on Refugees and we also look for other opportunities for young people to participate in conversations at the national and international level and finally, part of MYAN's role is to help in the development of networks and organisations at the State and Territory level.
That focus on the particular needs of refugee and migrant young people and part of that has been to help in the establishment of what we call multicultural specialist youth organisations, one of which is the organisation that Sally is a part of which is the – Multicultural Youth Australia and similar organisations have been established in New South Wales, in Queensland and in WA. In Victoria, there's been a long history of the establishment of an organisation called The Centre for Multicultural youth which is a very well established and quite well known organisation that kind of kick started, I guess, this work in Australia and they are also the auspice of the MYAN in Australia and we also have partners in the other states as well, so if you're interested in connecting at that local level and in that opportunity to network then there'll be some information about that towards the end.
And a part of our work is to help to bridge the role of the settlement sector that works with newly arrived people from refugee and migrant backgrounds with the more mainstream youth support services and to try to bring together those organisations, and so that's really what we're focusing on today is the work that's been done in Tasmania as a case study, I guess of how we're doing that work and what we can do to improve that collaboration between those two sectors. I have a photo there of some of our amazing young people and this is from one of our previous events but I guess the reason these photos are there is just to remind us that we're talking about real young people and these are the young – well, everything that we do is about trying to maximise the opportunities and ensure that we are meeting the needs of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds living in Australia.
So let me move now to talking a little bit about the youth settlement framework itself. I'll just give you a very brief background and some of you may have taken part in previous webinars where we talked about this as well so I'll try and keep it fairly brief but also aware that some people may not have heard this information before. The National Youth Settlement Framework is the first national framework to – for understanding and responding to the needs of young people in their settlement journey, and it focuses on milestones in – sorry, it's become a milestone in youth settlement in Australia and from what we understand is also quite unique globally and so MYAN has had a role in sharing this work at the international level because there are many countries interested in this work.
The framework was developed by MYAN Australia. It was informed by young people themselves as well as the non-government and government sectors and they were involved in helping to share and review and assess the information that we were developing in draft forms. It was designed to inform policy and service delivery across both the government and the non-government sector and its aim is to address all areas of young people's engagement with services that support their settlement in Australia. The framework is an evidence based guide, and it's about helping to measure good practice as well as settlement outcomes for young people and we aim it to operate both on a conceptual level.
So helping people to better understand the work that they do and the way it contributes to young people's settlement as well as offering practical resources and, as I mentioned I'll share some of those with you at the end of this webinar. So let's just spend a minute thinking about why we needed a National Youth Settlement Framework and the rationale for this. Some of the reasons behind it are that young people involved in the settlement journey in their first few years in Australia have particular and distinct needs.
Their needs are different from those as children as well as from adults and families and this is because of the particular age and developmental stage that young people are going through and also because they play a unique role in families during the settlement process and we found in the past that approaches or frameworks that focused only on a broader – so the family settlement approach missed the needs of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds and were not specific enough to identify and support young people through their settlement journey.
We also know that newly arrived young people have different needs to those who are born in Australia because of the refugee or migration experience that those young people have been through and because of their experience of cultural dislocation as they move to Australia and have to take on board all of the different things that they've never experienced before in their previous countries. We know that young people's settlement journey has some additional and more complex transitions than those of adults and these include things like culture, navigating things like education and training pathways. Fitting in with their peers.
Navigating their family structures. Dealing with the everyday things that young people go through in that period that we call adolescence and we also hear a lot from young people about this idea that they very much end up living in two worlds. They live in their family of origin and their culture of origin and often the parents are very much wanting them to hang on to their traditional roots, but young people are also having to navigate their new country. Their country of adoption, which is here in Australia and the pressure that they face from their peers in Australia to become more Australian and to become a part of their new culture, and so that's often a dilemma that young people face and its one that they need support and guidance to navigate.
We know that young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds often arrive with very limited social capital. And this is particularly true in spaces like education and employment. We know from research that the employment pathways are often very reliant on who you know and having access to, you know, informal networks through your family, through your community and so on but, of course, newly arrived young people have little or no opportunity to access these and so it's important that we find new ways to support them. And the other – I guess the final part of the National Youth Settlement Framework and the reason behind it is that it focuses on settlement in the context of adolescence and really focuses on this significant developmental stage that people are going through and the particular importance of issues like belonging and identity at that life stage and so there's a big focus on that in the framework itself.
So, some of the things that underpin the framework. Firstly, it takes a human rights based approach and borrows from other human rights frameworks. It also borrows heavily from a youth work approach and looks at other – I guess, broader youth work dialogues around what it takes to help young people to navigate that period of adolescence and some of the things that are in the youth settlement framework are also true for supporting all young people but they have a particular or unique focus when we're talking about refugee and migrant young people.
And finally, we very much use a strength based approach in the youth settlement framework. Although we know that young people face many challenges in their settlement journey, we know through the young people that we work with that young people are resilient and resourceful. They come with all sorts of strengths and capabilities that they've gathered through their life journey and often their experiences make them even more tenacious, even more determined to succeed than young people who haven't been through those migrant or refugee experiences. They're a diverse group. When we talk about refugees and migrant young people they are not a homogenous group.
They are very much a diverse group and we need to think about particular needs for particular young people in particular groups and we know through all of this that these young people therefore need a targeted approach to their settlement in order to make that a successful journey through those first few years in Australia and to help them to achieve their potential. I'll show you now just a couple of slides that help to summarise what's in the youth settlement framework. The first slide is focusing on what we call the life domains that cover active citizenship.
So we use an active citizenship lens to talk about young people's settlement and as the basis for the youth settlement framework and that covers four pillars of active citizenship. The first one is around their – sorry, their economic participation which is things like the ability to acquire English language skills and their support through the education, employment pathways and moving on to things like being able to make a stable income and having safe and stable housing. The next pillar is around social participation and the importance of young people participating in and contributing to community life through a whole range of different ways.
Through the arts, through sport, through recreation and so on. The third pillar is civic participation which is all focused on young people's rights to participate in the political and civil society within Australia and having opportunities to have their voices heard and their concerns heard and the final of the four life domains is around personal wellbeing. And that's looking at health and wellbeing of young people broadly through things like positive relationships, having a high self-esteem. Their physical, mental and sexual health and so on. So that's the first lens that we use through the youth settlement framework to look at the issues that contribute to young people's effective settlement.
The second lens we use is one that focuses more on service delivery, so it's really looking at what we can do as professionals to support young people to settle well and if you look at this slide you'll see down the bottom the heading, "Service delivery," and under that is listed what we call the eight good practice capabilities and we believe these are the critical things that workers – the skills and capacities that workers need to develop in order to support young people to navigate those life domains that we talked about a moment ago.
So the eight good practice capabilities are cultural competency, youth centred and strength based approaches, a youth development and participation, being trauma informed, being family aware, having a flexible and responsive approach, collaborating with other organisations and also advocating for the rights and interests of young people. So, that's my brief introduction to the youth settlement framework and I will come back and talk a bit more about how the – how we support the implementation of the – and some of the resources that we've developed.
So there'll be a chance to explore that in a little bit more detail, but I'm going to pass now to Sally Thompson from Multicultural Youth Tasmania and Sally is going to talk a bit about the work that they've been doing with Headspace in Hobart and the reason we've asked Sally to talk about this today is that in the three or four years since we launched the youth settlement framework we've really focused so far on its implementation in mainstream youth organisations – sorry, sorry, no. In multicultural specialist organisations, I got that wrong, but what Sally is going to talk to today is about the next steps in implementing the framework which is about supporting more mainstream organisations to understand and support the needs of refugee and migrant young people. So I'll hand over now to Sally.
Thanks Andrew, yeah, as Andrew said I'm the team leader for the Multicultural Youth Tasmania program. My team provides targeted services and projects to support young people up to 25 years from multicultural backgrounds to reach their full potential to thrive as active citizens of the Tasmanian community. And part of what we do, as Andrew said, is to work with mainstream services through our partnerships with MYAN to build their capacity work well with young people who are settling in Hobart. So in April this year, we delivered the National Youth Settlement Framework training to the whole of Headspace Hobart.
And I should say that Headspace did want to be here today but they couldn't make it and we collaborated on the content of the case study I share with you today. So Headspace closed their service for the day and we had their whole team there including their frontline workers, and workers from their lead agency, the Link.
So this opportunity came about through close collaboration with Headspace. So we'd been in discussion with Headspace for a while about improving referral pathways for multicultural youth into their service. We work closely with the Phoenix Centre who's the FASST agency here and Headspace on program collaborations including youth health and information workshops, site tours for our clients and my team and Headspace staff were working together to try and deliver culturally competent service within Headspace for our young people.
Headspace acknowledged that they did not have strong engagement with multicultural youth in their service. So clinicians from Headspace reported sometimes feeling under skilled or out of depth delivering clinical interventions and Headspace management identified that more training was required. So due to our relationship, they came to us. We had only just begun promoting and delivering the National Youth Settlement Framework in Tasmania so it was a really good fit for us.
We approached – we looked at our audience when we were thinking about who we were going to deliver to, so we looked at the training and we made sure we were speaking to the audience which were experienced and skilled professionals, youth workers and counsellors and we wanted to honour their knowledge and experience so we adjusted the case studies to ensure that they were relevant to our – to the audience. We ensured that they were – the case studies were localised, were set in the Tasmanian context and reflected stories of the young people that we were supporting to settle in Tasmania and reflected, I guess, the issues that were specific to Tasmanian settlement for youth.
Tassie's – the context in Tassie – you know, we're a regional area, so it's a little bit different for young people settling here than say if they're settling in Melbourne or Sydney or Brisbane. We co-facilitated the training with a bi-cultural youth worker. So our program we have highly trained bi-cultural youth workers. So young people from the communities we're working with and they have been working with us on programs for years and Phoenix. So we co-facilitated with a bi-cultural youth worker and that youth worker had also worked on previous programs with the Link and Headspace to help to build their capacity and understanding of the journey of young people settling in Tassie.
So Dibucci offered – the youth worker, she offered some really great insight to workers that we could not and we also used the MYAN videos that are part of the training package, because it's really important that staff from mainstream organisations hear directly from young people about their lived experience and the evaluations that we had at the time reflected – the participants reflected that that was the most, I guess – they had the most impact on them. So what worked well in this collaboration was the commitment of Headspace and the Link staff. So their readiness to invest and their willingness to accept that maybe they were a little under skilled and that they weren't hitting the mark with multicultural youth engagement.
So the approach to the collaboration. The training was offered as a tool in a range of recommendations we made to Headspace when they came to us saying they wanted to increase engagement and we're still working with them today on many, many different areas. So program collaborations, and I'll talk a bit about what's next at the end, but first, I guess, it's good to sort of talk about evaluations. So what impact did the training have on the staff? So we did two evaluations, one directly after the training and one six months later to gauge the impact of the training. So the evaluation immediately after reflected a clear increase in knowledge around settlement experiences and multicultural youth in Tasmania. Workers reflected they had more confidence in how to engage young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds.
They had more understanding of the complexity of experience young people faced settling here. And the many, sort of, factors involved in settlement and young people experienced these things differently. They expressed confidence in around how to communicate with young people and confidence in asking questions and honouring the young people's experience. They also had an understanding of, I guess – a better understanding of good practice capabilities. Things like being family aware and what that actually meant to workers.
I guess a lot of the young people that we work with, obviously they come from a different cultural context to mainstream Australians and family is very important as Andrew touched on at the beginning. So that was really, really useful for a lot of the workers to just hear about where these young people are coming from. And again, they really valued hearing the lived experience of the young people. This had a really significant impact on the participants so based on Dibucci and the video resources. Six months later we have just finished a round of consultations that talk about what impact the training had. So what has changed for them six months down the track?
Then workers reflected it was still very relevant and they were using the framework in their everyday practice. Their Headspace management also reflected that they were using the framework in all – they were considering the framework in all facets of their, sort of, strategic planning. So in individual clinical sessions they were obviously using the framework there, but also looking at it in a broader service delivery and also within their governance. So we now have young people from our youth advisory group at MYAN Tas down here are sitting on their reference group. So they're really maintaining that engagement.
They reported the increase to confidence remains and the – but I guess they also reported that the engagement of CALD youth has increased. So a year ago when we first started working – or 18 months ago when we first started working with Headspace, they were seeing on average about 12 young people from multicultural backgrounds a year in a 12 – like, in a 12 months period and that – I mean, that is why this collaboration started. And they've reported that so far this financial year that they've had 36 young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds come through their service. So that's only in the last sort of five months. So that's a really significant change for that service. I guess, one thing that is outlined in the framework and good practice capabilities is the importance of collaboration and we will continue to collaborate with Headspace. So we have ongoing plans for outreach with Headspace workers.
So we have a weekly youth drop in service here, that is used by a lot of young people. So if 30 to 40 young people come in through our service every Wednesday afternoon, or for various reasons and Headspace are committing next year to send an outreach worker to our service at least once a month to keep the relationship going and build a lot of trust – build trust between the young people we're working with and their workers. Trust and familiarity. They're committed to providing a more flexible service model, so you know, more outreach working in schools and coming out to the northern suburbs where are lot of our client groups are. Headspace is based in the Hobart CBD.
So again, another one of those good practice capabilities. So being responsive and flexible. We're looking at collaborating on in take assessment so young people don't have to keep retelling their stories in order to receive support. So that's a really exciting project we're looking at next year. Yes the training has been factored in. We've had a really, really positive response from Headspace and like I said the collaboration is ongoing and the collaboration was a really useful tool in supporting an ongoing relationship with Headspace Hobart and the Link youth health services down here. That's all from me. I'll pass back over to you, Andrew.
Thanks very much for that Sally. That was a great overview of the work you've been doing and that's an incredible outcome in terms of the increased numbers that Headspace is seeing from – as a result of that collaboration and that training. I might hand over to Kat now and I believe she's going to introduce some questions that have been coming from the audience and some other things that maybe have popped up during the time that you were talking.
Yep, thanks Andrew and thanks to Sally as well. That was a really interesting case study and in depth look at how the framework can be applied in a mainstream setting. I was curious, Sally, you talked obviously about the engagement with young people increasing over a period of just one year. I was just sort of interested in your reflections about, sort of, why that might be or what the perception on the ground is. Like, do you think that young people now are sort of – are starting to see Headspace as more of an inclusive services? That it is able to address those needs? What are you hearing from the young people, I guess, is my question?
We're hearing that they're more open to referrals and they do – I mean before we would convince the young person – well, not convince, but talk to the young person about a referral and so we'd have to – we'd support them into the service and we'd see a lot of those referrals just bounce back to us, because our youth workers were the known, trusted people in those young people's lives. So what we're seeing now, because of the collaboration – because they've seen the Headspace workers in our service, because we've supported the young people in tours to their service, I guess the young people feel like it's a safer place.
Also that they feel – yeah, it's a more inclusive space for them. So when they walk in, the front-line staff now, they're happy to call interpreters when those young people walk through the door. There's information in the front foyer of Headspace in multiple languages now. Yes, I think the staff have a lot more increased confidence and understanding of where those young people are coming from, so when they do do that initial intake, it's less likely to bounce back to us. The young person, you know is – their needs are being met more by Headspace.
Yeah, great. Okay, thanks Sally. There's an interesting question here that's just come through, and maybe you'd be best placed to answer this Andrew, but someone's asking about whether there is any component or if there's any training for workers that addresses specifically sexuality and gender diversity and how that intersects sort of with different cultural backgrounds? Can you speak to that at all Andrew?
Sure, I'll start and Sally might want to add as well to that.
For the practice point of view. At the moment, we haven't developed anything specifically around that. I know that there is work in some of the MYAN State and Territory organisations at a practical level looking at ways to make, you know, information and services around issues like sex and sexuality and sexual health and LGBTIQ issues, for example more accessible and appropriate for young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds. Often there's a bit of a reluctance or a resistance, particularly through parents and community members who may have more conservative views than to the mainstream Australian communities would have towards those issues.
We haven't developed anything specifically around that through MYAN Australia, but what we are looking to do is to start to develop more specific resources that help people to navigate the different aspects of the framework, and we're looking next year to develop a knowledge hub which will kind of bring together a whole range of different resources that underpin and support work to implement the framework. That'll be structured around the different components of the framework itself and so we certainly could be looking at developing some resources around that in the future. Sally, did you want to say anything with regard to that question?
Yeah. Like there are some resources that we've used in the past from – I'm just looking it up now. They were developed by Anglicare, I do believe and they're directly addressing sexuality and gender issues for young people from CALD backgrounds and just sorry – just looking up exactly where it is, but yeah, I do believe it's Anglicare and there's been studies by the La Trobe University. Nothing CALD – "Nothing for them." So that was a paper that they put out which is – which I found pretty helpful in designing programs and approaching these issues with the young people we're working with.
Great, thanks Sally. This is probably again a question for both of you and maybe Andrew you sort of want to start us off, but just sort of thinking for mainstream services that are thinking about engaging with the framework and are not really sure where to start or they're just beginning with those conversations I guess I'd be interested to hear from both of you about what your advice to those people would be? Do you have any particular starting points? Or even from you Sally, what would be your reflections of the process or things that you learnt along the way that would be worthwhile sort of sharing.
I mean I guess we just – as – I mean, we're the only multicultural youth specific service in Tasmania. We just saw the need and reached out and we were, you know, I guess not lucky, Headspace were also – you know, I assume most services do want to increase engagement with young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds, and you know, youth workers are very dedicated in my experience to their practice, so I just think reaching out and that sort of ongoing collaboration, so not just sort of going, "Oh here's the training package," and walking away. Maintaining those relationships and – with workers, I guess, the front-line workers, so they know who they're referring to and – yeah, that would be my advice.
Yeah, so the work keeps continuing on, basically.
Yeah, thanks Sally. Yeah, Andrew?
Kat, I might add to that as well.
That we are – I will share some more resources later in the webinar that have been developed with those questions in mind because I think it is an ongoing question and my experience – you know, I've been youth worker for many, many years and that was – my background is in mainstream youth services and it's only more recently that I've focused on the needs of refugee and migrant young people and so my experience is that often people working with young people on the ground, as you know, practitioners and you know youth workers and youth support people, these frameworks can be a little bit confusing. They can be a bit sort of intellectual and a bit kind of hard to navigate and hard to understand and so what we're trying to do is break it down for people and make it as accessible as possible, and as Sally was saying, you know, help them by – help people by delivering training. Help them by providing ongoing support and advice around how to take the next steps towards you know making the services more accessible and then developing a range of different resources that help people to have a better sense of what that means.
Great. Very comprehensive answer, thanks Andrew. So I think that's it for questions. So I might just hand back to you briefly, Andrew to wrap things, um.
Great, thanks for that. So I will go very much to that – to addressing that question just by talking through some of the resources that have been developed to support the implementation of the framework. The first of those is some what we call self-assessment sheets which have just been made available on our website. We've had them for a while and we've used them in the training in the past, but until last week they weren't actually available for people to download directly from our website and we've now addressed that issue and the aim of these self-assessment tools is to help to make – exactly that – help to make the framework more accessible and more clear and understandable to people.
So the one that I'm showing on the screen at the moment, focuses on applying the active citizenship indicators which are those four sort of themes or topics that I mentioned earlier in the presentation and what it does is break down each of the indicators, describes what it actually means in terms of what we're trying to achieve with young people by addressing that particular stream, and then it gives some examples of what that might look like in practice. So what might organisations be doing in order to address that particular issue and improve their practice in that particular way and then for that.
The second part of those self-assessment tools, is an actual sort of checklist that people can go through and organisations can go through, where they score themselves based on a range of different indicators that help them to know whether they feel that they're doing a – you know, doing a great job, doing an average job or doing a not so good job of putting that particular area of the framework into practice and these are very much designed as, you know, for something that individual workers and teams and services can use, you know, confidentially, it's not about needing to share this information with MYAN or with anybody else, but it's about starting to track the implementation of the framework at that practical level and it's about giving services and workers within those services some tools that help them to track progress as well.
So the idea is that you might use this self-assessment tool, you know, a month or two after you finished doing the youth settlement framework training or you started to use and look at the framework itself and then you might do that again six months or 12 months later and have a chance to compare what are the things that we've done since and I think Sally's examples that she gave from the Headspace work gave some really good, sort of, practical examples around things that they've been doing and some of the evidence of success from their work in applying the framework.
A similar thing has been done around those eight good practice capabilities, so there is a summary of information for each of the eight good practice capabilities, what it means and how you can put that into practice and of course this isn't an exhaustive list, it's just some examples of a range of different ways that organisations might put that particular capability into practice in their work and again, a self-assessment tool that helps them to identify particular examples of work that they're doing in a particular area so that they can continue to monitor that and the next thing that I wanted to share with you is an example of one of the recent resources that we've launched just in the last two or three weeks which focuses on one aspect of the eight good practice capabilities and that's the issue of youth participation and what we've recently launched is a tool kit that helps organisations to think about how they involve young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds in decisions that affect them and that's based on a very, sort of simple, practical level, you know, within youth centres or youth organisations as well as at more sort of decision making levels you know within organisations and also across things like government departments and so on.
And the aim of the tool kit is to provide people that maybe haven't had much experience in this area. It might be, like Headspace in Hobart, a mainstream youth organisation that's had a lot of experience at supporting young people's participation for more mainstream communities of young people but hasn't had much success or hasn't given much thought to how they might do that with young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds.
It also is intended for organisations that maybe haven't had much experience of youth participation, so possibly multicultural services and settlement services that don't have a youth focus and also for others that have a responsibility or some interest in doing a better job of involving young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds in decisions, but that haven't had much chance to do this in the past. So the way that the resource is structured, it's fairly brief. We've tried to keep it sort of short and accessible. There's a brief introduction to the resource just to sort of help people to navigate it. There's a few pages just talking about what do we mean by the idea of young people's participation, what exactly is it?
We then look at the pathways that people can take in order to become more involved and some of the hurdles and the barriers that can get in the way of young people taking part in participation – opportunities to participate and what we've used as a basis for that is a model developed by a man called Harry Shear who developed this model, oh, nearly 20 years ago and what we've done with the resource is to highlight what are the barriers that all young people face in being able to participate in decision making that affects them, and then what are the additional barriers than refugee and migrant young people face in terms of their participation and the particular issues that need to be thought of for that particular group.
The resource then moves on to some case studies. So we've involved some practical case studies that just give a sort of a snapshot of the different ways that a few different organisations have developed projects or gone about starting to include young people's voices more directly in their work and we've also developed a sort of top tips sheet which there's one page – it's a two page document that just kind of says, you know, here's – just as a starting point, here's the 15 things that you should be thinking about if you want to start moving in the direction of involving young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds in decision making and there is a checklist at the end as well that helps organisations to be asking critical questions about what they can do to improve their areas of practice.
The other thing that we've done with this resource, we've made it available on our website, so you can download the whole resource as one thing, and we also have some hard copies of that resource printed but we also have made it available in sections so that if all you want is the top tips sheet. That might be something you want to print out and stick above your desk or on a you know, a filing cabinet or something like that, that just helps people to be reminded and thinking about those issues on a very practical level, or similarly if you're just interested in the introduction and just sort of wanting to share some ideas or using the case studies in training or in supervision or in any sort of informal settings that you might want to be exploring the case study and thinking how could we go about doing something like that in our own organisation?
We're also at the moment adding some other types of resources. We're doing some interview with young people who have been involved in participation and they're going to be available on our website through short videos and through things like vox pops and podcasts so that people can listen directly and not just having to read things or print things off but, you know, so that you can listen to them on the train or in the bus, or in the car or wherever you might be. So that's pretty much the information that I wanted to present around the youth settlement framework. Kat, is there anything else that you wanted to explore before we finished?
Yeah, I mean I was just going to comment firstly on how amazing that resource looks. I think you're going to have a huge spike in downloads. You know, there's a lot of discussion at the moment about involving young people in the decisions being made about them and yeah, just what a fantastic resource, so thank you for sharing that with us. We also do have just a couple more questions that have come through, so I might just throw them your way, Andrew and of course Sally, if you want to comment please throw some answers through to me.
So the first one is about how can the framework and in particular the key domains of the framework be incorporated into statutory work with young people from a refugee background? So child protection, youth justice and those sorts of areas. Do you have any ideas about that, Andrew?
It's a really good question. I think that statutory organisations that work with young people often struggle with some of those issues for all young people. You know, how do they make sure young people's voices are directly engaged in influencing the work? How to improve the focus on – you know, on outcomes and on the lived experience of young people themselves and so it's often a struggle to think about how you marry that up with, you know, legislation requirements and working from that very sort of hard end of support for young people – children and young people.
So I think – I guess my suggestion would be to be thinking about those issues really broadly within organisations that have that responsibility and possibly be, you know, sort of practicing – looking at different ways to do that with all young people and once they've developed some confidence or some sort of insights into how to do that with young people generally, then starting to apply those ideas to the specific work with young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds, and you know, thinking about some of the work that's happening across the country around things like out of home care support for young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds, what's happening is that people are – and organisations are trying to learn from what works best in a mainstream setting and then bringing in specialist organisations that have an experience in working with refugee and migrant young people to provide framing and support to implementing strategies for improving the support to those particular young people and I guess in some ways a similar approach to what Sally was talking about with Headspace. Sally, do you want to add anything more from the kind of on the ground basis of any experience that you've got in that area.
Yes, I guess just to – it's really important that those statutory organisations or people who are working in child protection and youth justice do, sort of, I guess, lean in and look at doing training like the National Youth Settlement Framework training but to also understand that young people, they're learning the system maybe as they're just beginning to have to interact with that system, so often don't assume that they know what your role is. You have to sort of go above and beyond in explaining the context to young people and that really echoes that civic participation.
They need to understand their rights and responsibilities and understand what these organisations that have – are doing in their lives, I guess. So just being really explicit and making sure that those workers are trained and understand the needs of the young people to – you know, to navigate – when they're navigating those services.
Really good advice, thank you both. We've got another question here and I probably don't really understand the context of this, but you might, Sally and Andrew, but is there any future planning to have youth settlement services co-located in schools or based in schools, do you know?
Not that I know of. So not that I know of, but in saying that, I mean, we are the youth settlement service in Southern Tasmania here and we spend a lot of time in schools and have done a lot of training with the EAL support teachers that we're working with. So I think there's definitely a place for the settlement programs to be collaborating really strongly with schools. School social workers, with teachers themselves. We also do a lot of work with parents engagement in schools and helping parents navigate the education system down here, so yeah, while I don't think there's any plans for settlement services to be in school, I do think it's important for those programs – the settlement youth programs to be delivered, you know, alongside and in collaboration with schools.
Yeah, connecting with those other institutions that are working closely with children. Yeah, over to you Andrew? Do you have something to say?
I just wanted to mention some work that MYAN's doing. We recently started a partnership with Foundation House which is the torture and trauma specialist organisation here in Victoria and we recently held a national conversation around some of the work that's happening in schools to support the education of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds and part of that was about mapping things that are happening across the country. What we do know is that the delivery of services in schools is very piecemeal. Like there's not a lot of consistency.
There's some really good examples of practice across the country in different states and territories, but things differ so much from state to state and even from, you know, suburb to suburb and town to town, so what we're wanting to do is map out some of those key things. Identify some examples of good practice where there is work being done that others could learn from and look at ways to share that information sort of practically and you know to also to drive some policy direction around better coordination and better information sharing around those things and something that MYAN's been concerned about for a long time is that although the federal government invests a lot of money in – or you know, relatively a lot of money in supporting the education of newly arrived young people there's very little clear accountability about where that money goes and what happens with it once it's, you know, administered through the States and then on to individual schools.
So we're wanting to see some more clarity around that so I think there may well be the opportunity explore ideas such as, you know, delivering services directly through schools and I do believe there is some work happening in some parts of the country. I know foundation house and also STARTTS in New South Wales, the torture and trauma specialist organisation there do do a lot of work in directly in schools and have workers that focus on – are placed in schools, so I think, yeah, there is definitely room to explore that.
Great, thank you Andrew. So we might just have one more question to finish us off and someone's just asking whether they're – if someone wanted to get into a career of working with young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds, what sort of experience would they need to have to do that? Is there sort of qualification? Is there places they should start working on volunteering? Would maybe Sally you'd like to start us off with that. Do you have any thoughts on that?
I would advise to start volunteering with settlement services in your local area. You know, as a – I know through our organisation we rely heavily on volunteers. We have in school – outside of school hour tutoring programs. Pathway planning programs and mentor programs for young people settling, so I guess, you know, get to know the young people that are settling in your communities and get to know the communities that are emerging. I think yeah, that's the best way. Aside from having lived experience with is really, really valuable in becoming a youth worker, but I think just yeah, getting in there, volunteering.
Yep, volunteering. Best way to start. All right, thanks Sally. I think Andrew you've got something to say on this too?
Yeah, just, I guess, to highlight there are various pathways towards a career in youth work and there's definitely, you know, Certificate IV and diploma courses as well as, in some States but certainly not all States degree courses in youth work or – and many people come to youth work through other professions such as social work and psychology and teaching and so on, but I think having the opportunity to bring together an interest in young people with a particular focus on the needs of refugee and migrant young people, I think what Sally was saying is a great idea for people to have some experience.
You know, starting to understand the issues that young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds face and you know having a chance to practice some of the skills that are useful in terms of engaging and supporting these young people and just a little tip for the MYAN network, many of our State and Territory MYAN organisations run networking events and – as well as training opportunities and so on, and they're a great way for people who work with young people or have an interest in working with young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds come together and share ideas and share opportunities and also might even be a great way to hear about jobs that are coming up in the sector so keep an eye out for those opportunities.
Ah, terrific advice. Thank you and thanks Sally as well. So we might just leave it there. Thank you so much Andrew and Sally for those really great presentations and to everyone who's attended today the questions have been really interesting I feel like we could talk about this for at least another hour. So please follow the link on your screen to our website if you'd like to continue the conversation and yeah, thanks once again to Andrew and Sally. See you next time.
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