Standards for Canadian organizations

2020 Edition

Refugee Resettlement Services (CA-RRS) 7: Services for Separated Refugee Minor Children

The organization ensures that children who have experienced migration, trauma, and family separation and loss receive the comprehensive services necessary to: 
  1. obtain a safe, healthy, and stable living arrangement;
  2. develop supportive relationships; 
  3. make a positive personal and social adjustment; and 
  4. gain the cross-cultural skills and understanding of their new country and community to maintain their ethnic identity and move forward with long-term acculturation.

Interpretation

Special care and attention should be given to refugee minor children who have been separated from their biological or legally adoptive parents, including those who are being resettled with relative caregivers or being reunited with biological or legally adoptive parents after long periods of separation.
NA The organization does not provide services for separated refugee minor children.
2020 Edition

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Purpose

Refugees acquire the cross-cultural information, skills, and social support network needed to gain stability, make a positive personal and social adjustment, maintain family connections and well-being, and achieve educational, economic and civic participation goals.
1
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
2
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
3
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
4
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Procedures for obtaining and reviewing official documentation
  • Placement assessment and reassessment procedures
  • Referral procedures
  • Community resource and referral list
  • Information provided to caregivers
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Persons served
  • Review case records

Fundamental Practice

CA-RRS 7.01

Prior to intake, the organization receives and reviews official documentation for every child, including biographical data, migration history, and information regarding family relationships and considerations for resettlement.

Interpretation

Biographical data refers to the child’s age, country of origin, gender, primary language, and/or country prior to migration.

CA-RRS 7.02

The organization ensures children are placed in a safe, stable living arrangement by conducting a suitability assessment before or upon the child’s arrival to Canada that:
  1. verifies the identity of the caregiver in cases involving a long period of separation;
  2. evaluates the nature and extent of any previous relationship with the child; 
  3. considers the housing space, safety, and financial stability of the placement; and
  4. is updated on an ongoing basis to assess family dynamic suitability and placement stability.

CA-RRS 7.03

Care extends beyond crisis stabilization to promote long-term acculturation and includes, when possible, specialized legal, social, education, mental health and healthcare services, that: 
  1. assist the child in ascertaining the whereabouts of family members and identify opportunities for family reunification; 
  2. determine the child’s cultural attitudes and values about family obligations and expression of thoughts and feelings, suffering, and pride;
  3. treat observed behaviour associated with age-appropriate difficulties; 
  4. assess physical, mental, and dental health and provide referrals for ongoing services, as needed; 
  5. encourage the preservation of the child’s ethnic and religious heritage; and
  6. promotes positive adjustment and the achievement of personal goals.
Examples: Regarding element c., a developmental approach can be helpful for discerning difficulties adapting which are likely to appear in preschool children, at latency, and in adolescence. 

Needed mental health services may include individual or group counselling and support.

CA-RRS 7.04

Personnel and caregivers actively reach out to programs that can be tailored to specific refugee groups to help children build bicultural skills.
Examples: Programs that develop bicultural skills could include: weekend or community schools that teach language, arts, culture, and history of the country of origin; summer camps that promote social integration; and ethnic teams, cultural societies, or community associations with common social or recreational activities.

CA-RRS 7.05

The organization helps caregivers anticipate, prepare for, and mitigate distresses of separated refugee minor children by providing them with information about: 
  1. the nature and expectations of Canadian practices regarding child rearing, including child abuse and neglect laws and the requirements for obtaining legal guardianship;
  2. promising practices for care of children who are resettling with relative caregivers or who are reuniting with biological or legally adoptive parents after long periods of separation; 
  3. how to help refugee children develop and maintain positive bicultural identities; 
  4. resilience and risk factors; 
  5. reasons for family separation unrelated to abuse and neglect; and 
  6. difficulties children may have due to different views or misunderstandings about the role of a new family and feelings of family loyalty, as appropriate.