Welcome to the March edition of the MYAN Australia E-Newsletter - a quarterly bulletin presenting multicultural youth issues through a national lens.
This edition includes updates from MYAN networks and partners across the country, as well as the latest national project, policy and research information.
MYAN National Update
National Community Detention Training
Engaged by the Australian Red Cross (ARC), the MYAN has almost completed national training on working with young people who are unaccompanied minors, in community detention. The MYAN conducted a national training needs analysis to inform the training and sessions have been delivered in WA, QLD, ACT, NSW and SA. Targeting caseworkers and residential carers, the training provides a framework for understanding and responding to the particular needs of unaccompanied minors in the CD context and builds on participants’ skills and knowledge - acknowledging the complex nature of supporting unaccompanied minor young people in community detention. Training in Victoria will take place in early April. Contact the MYAN National Coordinator for more information email@example.com
Refugee Youth Support Pilot
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s Refugee Youth Support Pilot began in February. The Pilot is trialing a new approach to the provision of settlement services for older refugee youth (aged 16-17 years). It places young unaccompanied humanitarian minors in shared housing arrangements to develop independent living skills in a supported environment that does not involve 24 hour care. The Pilot is being delivered by Multicultural Youth South Australia (MYSA), Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) in Victoria, and Multicultural Development Association (MDA) in Queensland.
Clients are being selected for participation in the Pilot based on their age and an assessment of their suitability using a specific set of criteria. The primary aim is to determine whether a client has independent living skills or has the capacity to develop these skills and could therefore live without 24 hour supervision. If the client is considered suitable they are informed of their options and have the opportunity to decide which settlement pathway would most suit their needs. Young people in the Pilot will receive intensive youth-specific casework with a strong focus on accommodation, the development of life skills, social integration and the provision of education and/or employment support.
It is intended that up to 120 young people will participate in the Pilot during the 12 month trial period. As at 21 March 2012, 12 young people are in the Pilot housing, with 4 young people in Victoria, 3 in South Australia and 5 in Queensland. A further 6 to 8 young people are expected to join the program by the end of March 2012. A further 12 clients are at various stages of the eligibility assessment process.
The Pilot will continue until February 2013 with the possibility of extension for a further four months to accommodate client needs. DIAC will be conducting an evaluation of the pilot and work is currently underway with a consultant to scope the evaluation.
MYAN State and Territory Update
NSW ‘Youth Rep’ National Youth Week event
The MYAN NSW has been busy getting ready to launch its first multicultural youth event - Multicultural Youth Rep - at Auburn Centre for Community on April 1st, as part of Youth Week 2012. With a focus on IMAGINE, CREATE and INSPIRE action in Youth Week 2012, the day will include an advocacy workshop, inspirational speakers and performers. For more information go to www.myannsw.org.au.
HSS Youth Support & Coordination
The HSS Youth Support and Coordination Project is an initiative of the Multicultural Youth Affairs Network (MYAN) NSW and a partnership between Settlement Services International (SSI) and the Youth Action and Policy Association NSW (YAPA). The Project aims to ensure the successful implementation and delivery of the HSS Youth Sub-Plan, in order to achieve positive settlement outcomes for humanitarian entrants aged 15-25 in NSW. The project has focused on developing assessment and case management tools for the Youth Sub-Plan, as well as a guide to conducting case management with young people from refugee backgrounds – to be launched as part of the SSI launch on 18 April 2012. For more information go to: http://www.myan.org.au/nsw/hss-youth-support/
Sector Development Forum on Homelessness
The latest MYAN NSW sector development forum focused on Homelessness for young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds. The fourth MYAN NSW forum on multicultural youth issues, it highlighted good practice and service provision, with over 40 workers from the housing, settlement and youth sectors attending. Presentations from all forums, as well as updates on all activities, are available here.
MYANWA continues to meet bi-monthly to raise awareness of issues facing young people from CaLD backgrounds in the Perth metropolitan area. With representation from settlement agencies (both the southern and northern corridors), local and state government, schools, WA Police, mental health services, and partnership brokers, the meetings are great opportunities for identifying and discussing emerging issues, and strengthening collaboration between agencies and government bodies in Perth.
An Executive Group for the MYANWA was established in November 2011 to provide direction and oversee promotion of the MYANWA network. The Executive is currently developing its Terms of Reference, with a view to expanding its membership, and also developing its networks in rural areas – in particular, Albany and Katanning. These towns, especially Katanning, are rapidly growing with an increasing number of former refugees choosing to settle here. Through recent MYANWA sites visits, local service providers were keen to explore how they might best link in with MYANWA and access to support they need to provide targeted support to young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds.
The MYAN TAS says farewell to Georgi Marshall, who has been a wonderful driving force of the MYAN TAS over the last 2 years. We will miss her energy and enthusiasm for bringing together young people, service providers and policy makers and supporting the development of the MYAN TAS - a statewide voice on multicultural youth issues. The MRC of Southern Tasmania will continue to support the work of the MYAN TAS, and we look forward to welcoming the new MYAN rep. for Tasmania.
SA - Multicultural Youth South Australia Youth Settlement Action Network (YSAN)
YSAN met in February to discuss a range of issues including the state policy reform that intends to increase a focus on young people aged 10-18 years with a focus on Juvenile justice, child protection and homelessness. An issues paper is being developed to examine and explore the implications for young people aged 19-25 and youth specific organisations. This paper will be available in April 2012. For more information contact the YSAN Convenor, Dr Helena de Anstiss, Assistant Director, MYSA via firstname.lastname@example.org.
On 21st March MYSA held a Food and Sports Extravaganza at its Multicultural Youth Education and Development Centre. This was a partnership with MYSA’s very own Patron, Celebrity Chef and People of Australia Ambassador, Ms Dorinda Hafner, Football Federation of SA, Volleyball SA, Basketball SA and MYSA. In total 34 young new arrivals aged between 12 – 17 years from Congo, Sudan, Tanzania, Somalia, Zambia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Egypt, Kenya, Iraq, Uganda participated in a range of sporting activities, discussed the meaning of Harmony Day, heard an inspirational speech and enjoyed some delicious *chicken Dorinda* some young people even helped out in the kitchen cooking the food!
QLD Youth Settlement Network
The second Multicultural Youth Settlement Network was held in March 2012 at MDA in Brisbane. The meeting was represented by non-government and government agencies working across the settlement, youth, education, employment, and justice sectors. Acknowledging the developmental stage of the network, the focus of this meeting was to explore future directions – including a focus on policy and advocacy work, networking and facilitating partnerships. The meeting also highlighted a number of emerging issues in youth settlement, including settlement challenges for unaccompanied humanitarian minors, housing, justice, and education/ESL. With a fundamental focus on improving outcomes for young people from refugee backgrounds, the Youth Settlement Network will convene again in June.
ACT Funding for the MYAN ACT
Funding for coordination of the MYAN ACT has been secured under the new ACT government service framework for vulnerable children, young people and their families. This is a very pleasing recognition from the ACT government of the importance of a targeted approach to ensure that the needs of multicultural young people are addressed. The new government framework includes both a service delivery and sector development component, with Multicultural Youth Services (MYS) funded to provide direct service delivery to multicultural young people in the ACT. The Youth Co will be sub-contracted to provide coordination of the Multicultural Youth Affairs Network (MYAN ACT) and engage in capacity building work with generalist or 'mainstream' services to ensure they better meet the needs of multicultural young people. It is anticipated that these activities will commence in the coming weeks.
VIC - Centre for Multicultural Youth
Regional/Rural CaLD young people
The state government has committed an additional $1.8million over four years for CMY to establish two regional offices to respond to the needs of regional/rural CALD young people. Programs will target young people from CALD backgrounds and in particular refugees and youth from smaller communities. The first site has just been established in Gippsland (East Victoria) with the office based in Morwell. It is anticipated the second site will be launched before June 2012.
Youth Advisory Group (YAG)
In their inaugural year, the YAG has worked alongside staff to inform our work across the organisation. They have been invaluable in helping to shape our strategic plan for the next five years through participating in the consultation process with staff as well as with external stakeholders. The new strategic plan will be launched in May 2012.
The MYAN NT is currently finalising its multicultural youth policy paper. This paper has been developed through consultations with young people and service providers in and around Darwin and is a collaboration between Multicultural Youth NT (MyNT), NTCOSS, MYAN Australiaand Melaleuca Refugee Centre. The paper has been designed to be a key advocacy tool on multicultural youth issues in the NT and will be finalised for release later this year.
Multicultural Youth in Focus
Congratulations to Jane Alia, winner of the Northern Territory Human Rights Award for Women, Youth category!
In March, a week before her 18th birthday, Jane Alia won this award, having arrived in Darwin in 2008 through Australia’s humanitarian program. It is Jane's passion for social justice that also recently won her a position in the Foundation for Young Australians ‘Young People Without Borders’ program, which will see her travel overseas to volunteer in a developing region.
Jane was born and raised in Uganda and is a passionate and dedicated leader in the Darwin community. She is the driving force behind numerous youth-led community organisations and initiatives and currently holds the position of Vice-Chairperson of Multicultural Youth NT (MyNT). MyNT seeks to bring together young Territorians of all backgrounds to enable them to take action on various social issues. Jane has been instrumental in developing initiatives such as the ‘Anti-bullying and bitching’ project which involves peer-led workshops on tackling bullying at schools. As part of MyNT, she has also facilitated workshops raising awareness of issues relating to asylum seekers and been involved in organising events such as Harmony Day and World Refugee Day.
A strong advocate for women's rights, Jane has also been actively involved in the work of the Australian Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Alliance (AIRWA). Jane has taken a lead role in addressing concerns of young women of immigrant and refugee backgrounds, building networks, advocating and speaking out at public events such as International Women's Day. Jane was recently the Northern Territory ambassador for the national campaign on women's rights, 'In Her Shoes'.
Multicultural Youth Project in Focus
Living in Between & Students Against Racism- Tasmania
The Living in Between: Diversity Education through Storytelling project provides opportunities for students at southern Tasmanian schools to learn first-hand about the differences and similarities through sharing food, music and stories. A collaboration between the Hobart College Students Against Racism, the Tasmanian Centre for Global Learning and the Alcorso Foundation, the project provides a series of workshops for school groups that involves performance and activities.
Living in Between also supports the Students Against Racism group. The Hobart College group has 35 members, most of whom have come to Tasmania as humanitarian entrants – from countries as diverse as Sudan, Afghanistan, and Bhutan. As well as music and food, they share their stories about settling in Australia and the pain and pleasure of working out how to live between two cultures.
The Students Against Racism group was first formed in 2008 at Hobart College – developing a dramatic presentation that explains why they left their homelands, the journey to Australia and their lives in Tasmania. The presentation is designed to be a proactive response to young people’s experiences of racism – addressing a lack of understanding about why asylum seekers, refugees and migrants were settling in Tasmania. The project won the Tasmanian Human Rights School award in 2009 and currently receives funding from the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship through the Diversity and Social Cohesion Program. For more information, go to http://www.afairerworld.org/_Current_projects/lib.html
Other National News
Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) Update
Australia’s approach to refugee settlement support was the focus of international attention in February when 87 leaders of government, NGO and UN refugee resettlement programs (Europe, the Americas and the Asia-Pacific) came to Melbourne for a meeting of the Working Group on Resettlement (WGR). It was the first time the WGR had met in the Southern Hemisphere and the first WGR meeting to focus exclusively on post-arrival support of resettled refugees. Theme-based site visits around Melbourne included one on ‘Family and young people’ co-hosted by the South Eastern Region MRC and the Centre for Multicultural Youth. The idea of holding the meeting in Australia was actively sought by RCOA as part of Australia’s chairing in 2011-12 of the WGR and the Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement. The meeting highlighted the importance of Australian multiculturalism and the vital role that former refugees have in assisting new arrivals to adjust to life in Australia. A summary of the Melbourne WGR is here.
Settlement Council of Australia (SCOA) Update
The Second National Settlement Conference ‘Creating our Future’ will be held in Adelaide on 27th-29th June 2012. The conference will bring together the settlement sector, communities, service groups, academics and other interested organisations and individuals to build on current settlement knowledge, practice and community participation within a multicultural society. It will provide a forum for sharing current thinking, research, good practice and engagement pilots, both within the settlement sector and with other diverse stakeholders. Further information and registration can be found here.
AYAC and the National Children’s Commissioner
Since June last year, there has been a significant shift in opinion and emerging opportunities in relation to the establishment of a National Commissioner for Children and Young people – including Australia’s review and report back under the 60th session of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
A second NGO Roundtable was convened in early March to strengthen a collaborative campaign effort for an effective and viable National Commissioner. Read the NGO Position Paper here or contact Jacqui McKenzie at AYAC for more information Jacqui@ayac.org.au
National Anti-Racism Strategy – National Consultations
Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Helen Szoke is leading the development of a National Anti-Racism Strategy and is currently conducting national consultations to inform the strategy. She is very keen to hear how racism affects communities around Australia, and what we should be doing about it. Have your say by attending a public consultation, providing a submission or completing the online survey. More information can be found here.
Policy & Resources
ASIC Money Smart Resources
Money Smart, part of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), has launched its ‘Money Management Kit’, designed to build financial literacy among newly arrived communities. The comprehensive Kit conveys information using simple language, through video, audio and translated tipsheets.While the kit was developed for community settlement workers who work with new arrivals, it can also be used by teachers, welfare and youth workers who wish to provide general financial literacy education. Access the Kit here.
Refugee youth mental health
A recently released report explores successful engagement of young people from refugee backgrounds with mental health services. Entitled ‘Barriers to and facilitators of utilisation of mental health services by young people of refugee background’, the report was a collaboration between the University of Melbourne, Centre for Multicultural Youth, Foundation House, and the Royal Children’s Hospital. Download a copy of the report
Guardianship of Unaccompanied asylum seekers
The LaTrobe University Refugee Research Centre (LaRRC) has recently made available its working paper on comparative guardianship arrangements for unaccompanied child asylum seekers. The report focuses on the issue of guardianship of unaccompanied children with the aim of providing a basis for review of Australia’s current system of guardianship. It compares the Australian system to those operating in five comparable countries and identifies examples of good practice in the field. Download a copy
Children in immigration detention centres – international research and an alternative model of care
The International Detention Coalition this week launched its policy document “Captured Childhood” in Geneva at the 19th Session of the Human Rights Council. This is the result of research conducted with children, young people and parents in various countries around the world. The report also introduces a new model to ensure the rights and liberty of refugee, asylum seeker and irregular migrant children affected by immigration detention. Download a copy here.