Slide outline: 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

1. AIFS CFCA Webinar: Working with young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds: Applying the National Youth Settlement Framework in mainstream services

Andrew Cummings
Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (Australia)

Sally Thompson
Multicultural Youth Tasmania

2. MYAN (Australia)

National peak body on multicultural youth

Promotes rights and interests of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds and supports targeted response

Vision – all young people from refugee and migrant background can access the support and opportunities they need to be active participants in and contributors to Australian society

3. MYAN (Australia) cont...

Policy - provide advice to government

Sector development - capacity building to those working with young people (training, resources, teleconferences, research partnerships, National Conference)

Development of young people’s leadership and advocacy skills – Youth Ambassador Network (YAN), national youth events, international advocacy opportunities

Development of state/territory networks & organisations – MYAN NSW, MyQ, MYAN WA, MYAN TAS

Work across settlement and youth sectors

4. Alt text: A group of multicultural people smiling down at the camera from a balcony

5. What is the Youth Settlement Framework?

First national framework for understanding and responding to the needs of young people in settlement  - milestone in youth settlement in Australia (globally)

Developed by MYAN Australia – informed by young people, non-government and government sectors

Designed to inform policy & service delivery across government and the non-government sector – all areas of young people’s engagement with services to support their settlement in Australia

Evidence based guidance for measuring good practice and settlement outcomes – conceptual and practical resources

6. Why a National Youth Settlement Framework?

Young people in the settlement journey have particular needs:

  • Distinct from children, adults and families – age, development stage and role within the family
  • Different to Australian-born young people – refugee and migration experience, cultural dislocation
  • Additional and more complex transitions – culture, education/training pathways, peers, family structures, adolescence, concepts of independence and youth rights
  • Very limited social capital in the Australian context
  • Settlement in the context of adolescence - significant developmental stage, belonging and identity

7. What underpins the Framework?

Human rights frameworks

Youth work and settlement frameworks

Young people in the settlement journey:

  • Resilient and resourceful – strengths and capabilities
  • A diverse group
  • Have particular needs
  • Require a targeted approach

8. Alt text: A group of multicultural people.

9. Figure: Domains and indicators of active citizenship

Active citizenship is comprised of four key domains

  1. Social participation
  2. Economic participation
  3. Civic participation
  4. Personal well-being

All domains intersect, reflecting the dynamic process of settlement and the developmental stage of adolescence. ‘Personal well-being’ is understood to be fundamental to the others. Within each of these domains are key ‘indicators’ or aspects of a young person’s life that need to be supported in order to achieve active citizenship. This support is fundamentally about building a young person’s knowledge, skills, confidence and networks. As such, these indicators can be understood as the key ‘tasks’ or ‘competencies’ for achieving active citizenship. It is important to note that this is not an exhaustive list – it does not include all the indicators relevant to a young person’s settlement journey - but reflects those most fundamental for achieving active citizenship.

10. Figure: Domains, indicators and practice capabilities for active citizenship

This figure reflects the NYSF as a whole. It demonstrates how the optimum settlement outcome for young people, active citizenship links with good practice capabilities. Applying the good practice capabilities at the service delivery level, across all four domains, provides the foundations for addressing the key indicators and achieving the settlement goal for young people – active citizenship. Each of the components intersects, reflecting the dynamic, complex and non-linear process of achieving good settlement. Many young people will access services or engage with programs several times, in different ways and to different degrees, as they navigate the settlement journey towards active citizenship.

11. Spotlight

Case Study: Myt and headspace Hobart

12. Alt text: A group of multicultural people sitting at a table discussing and writing on a paper

13. Alt text: A group of young immigrant women playing a game of bursting a bubble by squeezing their backs together

14. Alt text: A group of young African migrants playing game with strings.

15. Resources

Supporting the implementation of the NYSF

16. Applying active citizenship indicators

Personal well-being

Positive intergenerational relationships in Australia and overseas

What does it mean? 
A young person enjoys positive relationships with family members and has the awareness and skills to build and maintain positive relationships with family in Australia and overseas. Positive relationships are supportive and free of violence and abuse. Young people also have an awareness and skills to negotiate intergenerational relationships in the context of settlement.

What does it look like in practice?

  • Building staff skills and knowledge in family aware practice.
  • Creating safe spaces to bring generations together and engage in discussions to build mutual respect and explore commonalities and differences.
  • Building stronger connections between young people and families
  • Providing services that aim to strengthen relationships within families, such as programs which encourage participation by parents in their children’s school and social life.
  • Providing a culturally responsive model of family dispute resolution that helps families and young people to understand bi-cultural expectations.
  • Educating migrant families about the role of child protection services and the extent of their authority.
  • Advocating with services and organisations about the specific needs of young people and families from refugee and migrant backgrounds.

17. Active citizenship indicators self-assessment

Domain: Social participation

What does this indicator mean?
Bridging and bonding networks:
A young person has links with inter-ethnic networks (bridging) and intra-ethnic networks (bonding), which together can build a young person’s social capital.
Family and ethnic and/or cultural communities are key sources of bonding capital. They can provide a sense of belonging and the emotional support, confidence and self-esteem that contributes to the development of bridging capital. The development of social bonds and bridges can assist in the (re)building of community networks that have often been eroded by the refugee experience.

What does it look like in practice?

  • Providing opportunities for young people to participate safely in social networking sites, to understand safe use of the internet and to access computers.
  • Running group activities with young people from similar backgrounds, as well as groups with young people from diverse backgrounds.
  • Providing options for young people to participate in structured activities with peers (e.g. sporting or arts based activities) or those in the broader community.
  • Fostering relationships, partnerships and referral pathways with key agencies that support young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds.
  • Other examples:

18. Alt text: A group of multicultural people

19. Applying good practice capabilities

Good practice capability
Youth development and participation

What does it mean?
A youth development approach applies youth work frameworks3 and promotes and supports the equal participation of young people in society. It supports young people to build and exercise a sense of agency and recognises the importance of relationships between workers and young people.
Youth participation approaches recognise the right of young people to participate in decision making that affects and shapes their lives. They are often best placed to identify their needs and should be supported to identify and advocate for solutions. It also recognises that the voices of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds are often marginalised in policy, advocacy and service delivery.
Meaningful youth participation is not just about opportunity; it is about seeing young people as partners and equipping them with the knowledge, skills, and resources to effectively participate and influence policy and service delivery models.

Putting it into practice

  • Involve young people as active participants (rather than just recipients) in the design, planning, development, implementation and evaluation of services.
  • Provide information and resources to support young people to build their knowledge of and capacity to navigate the service system, including: income support, health, legal, education, training, employment, recreation.
  • Support and provide opportunities for young people to participate in decision making that affects their lives, without judgement. This could include personal decisions about education, employment or relationships, or informing the design, implementation and evaluation of programs.
  • Actively seek contributions from young people in an accessible environment e.g. regular group meetings or planned youth-friendly times and places, formal and informal feedback mechanisms.
  • Ensure gender parity and implement strategies to ensure young women’s participation.
  • Seek opportunities to incorporate young people’s feedback as a key element of service delivery and provide young people with timely feedback about how their input was used.
  • Respect young people’s opinions and withhold judgement about their decisions or behaviour – they are valued, respected, active and contributing members of society now and in the future.

20. Good practice capabilities self-assessment

What does this capability mean?
Cultural competency: Cultural competency recognises that cultural dislocation is a significant factor in the migration and settlement experience. It also recognises the fundamental role that culture and cultural identity play in a young person’s life, and the significance of negotiating cultural differences in the settlement process – both for young people and service providers.
Cultural competency is not a point that is reached but something that individual workers and organisations work towards, continually improving and refining skills and knowledge. It involves understanding culture and how it impacts on our worldview and work practices with young people.1
Workers can assist young people by also building their capacity to think and talk about the significance and impact of culture in their lives, and the challenges of managing bi or multicultural identities.

What does it look like in practice?

  • Reflect on cultural assumptions, at a personal and organisational level, and how these shape your worldview and work practices.
  • Engage in cross-cultural professional development.
  • Explore meanings of culture in a sensitive way with young people and learn about their cultural background – young people will be your best cultural teachers.
  • Regularly review organisational and program policies, procedures and practices to ensure they are culturally inclusive and responsive.2
  • Establish and maintain links and partnerships with multicultural and other agencies involved in the settlement of young people.
  • Provide an inclusive and multicultural youth-friendly environment through representations of cultural and language diversity
  • Engage same-culture workers and interpreters wherever needed and provide written information in young people’s first languages.
  • Other examples 

21. Alt text: A group of multicultural women drawing on a table while discussing

22. Alt text: Screenshot of the 2018 report Not Just "Ticking a Box": Youth participation with young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds

23. Alt text: Screenshot of the table of contents of the 2018 report Not just "Ticking a box": Youth participation with young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds

  1. Introduction
  2. About young people's participation
  3. Pathways to young people's participation
  4. Top tips
  5. Checklist
  6. Finding out more

24. Alt text: A screenshot of Case study

Project: Refugee Youth Peer Mentoring Project
Organisation: Multicultural Youth Affairs Network of NSW

The idea for a mentoring program designed specifically for young people from refugee backgrounds arose during consultations held in 2016 across Australia, as part of the UN’s Global Refugee Youth Consultations. During the consultations, young people said that mentoring would be a useful way to support their settlement journey and help them achieve their goals. In 2017 the NSW Government provided funding for a Refugee Youth Peer Mentoring (RYPM) scheme, to support refugee young people to settle well in NSW. 

Young people from refugee backgrounds were involved in all aspects of the project. They were part of the co-design team; they helped facilitate the workshops; they took part in a workshop specifically for young people, as well as participating in workshops for service providers and for government; and they were involved in testing some of the ideas and assumptions about how the program might work. The project has helped to create an appetite for a youth participation approach within the NSW Government, and amongst the network of services who took part in the workshops and the broader co-design process.

25. Screenshot of  Top Tips

These are our “Top Tips” for engaging and supporting young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds to participate in decision making: 

  • Work with young people as partners – build trust and allow them to guide the ‘participation’ process as much as possible. They are best placed to know what works and how.
  • Reflect on your cultural assumptions and biases - what are you assuming about participation with young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds and how is your cultural context shaping these?
  • Always be mindful of all aspects of young people’s physical and emotional safety, and treat them with respect Engage family and community members as directed by young people - always ask permission from a young person and take their advice on what this engagement looks like.
  • Take time to explain what the project is, why it is being delivered, the expected outcomes, follow-up etc.
  • Think about your use of language and use plain English wherever possible. Consider whether you need to use interpreters, or have written information translated into other languages
  • Wherever possible, offer young people a “menu of opportunities” so that they can choose when, where and how they participate
  • Remember that young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds are often managing a range of competing priorities, in addition to those of other young people (managing work, study, family responsibilities, volunteer work and settlement related issues). Factor this in to your time frames, expectations etc.
  • Consider ways to reward young people for their participation and explore this with young people. This could be some form of payment, or by recognising and celebrating their contribution in other ways.
  • Be prepared to offer additional supports and address additional barriers to enable participation for young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds, considering their age, gender and diversity.
  • Make sure someone in your organisation has clear responsibility for supporting young people’s participation, and that they have the time, skills, support and resources to do this well

26. Alt text: A montage of drawings and post it notes from a group activity involving multicultural young people.

27. Resources

National Youth Settlement Framework

28. MYAN (Australia) Contacts

Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (Australia)

Andrew Cummings (Acting National Coordinator)  

Subscribe to the MYAN eNews

Register – National Conference

State/territory partners – contacts through MYAN website

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