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Reuniting Separated Refugee Children with their Families of Origin: a collaborative cross-sector approach.

Reuniting Separated Refugee Children with their Families of Origin: a collaborative cross-sector approach.

RASNZ , Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand, Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE), Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand
New Zealand is one of around 26 countries that take part in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) regular resettlement programme. Reuniting children separated from their families due to political unrest, discrimination, civil war and other
trauma based experiences is prioritized.
The Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre (MRRC) provides a six week orientation programme for newly arrived quota refugees prior to resettlement in communities around Aotearoa New Zealand. Separated children reuniting with parents already resettled in New Zealand are one group supported at MRRC.
The needs of separated children and their families gave rise to a creative collaboration to guide services while at MRRC. Clinicians from RASNZ (a non-government mental health agency) and Immigration New Zealand, Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) work together to provide a child centred, trauma informed approach to understanding the support needs of separated children and their parents reuniting at MRRC after often lengthy separations. The experience of separation becomes part of the child’s development and the narrative centre of the family journey after reunification. The experience of separation becomes part of the parents’ parenting experience impacting on their ability, emotional involvement and expectations of life after reunification.
In this presentation, Amitha and Sarah will outline their collaboration which melds mental health/therapeutic and social work/case management approaches to support the initial reunification period and identify supports for resettlement in the community.
A thematic analysis of patterns identified in our work with separated children will be presented and case vignettes used to illustrate the experiences, resiliencies, and needs of children and families.