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An Impact Evaluation of Client Support Services for Government Assisted Refugees. Katarina Kanic Ashley Korn YMCA of Greater Toronto. Michaela Hynie York University. Goals of the CSS Program.

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an impact evaluation of client support services for government assisted refugees

An Impact Evaluation of Client Support Services for Government Assisted Refugees

Katarina Kanic

Ashley Korn

YMCA of Greater Toronto

Michaela Hynie

York University

goals of the css program
Goals of the CSS Program
  • CSS program is a comprehensive client-centered case management program for Government-Assisted Refugees (GARs)
  • Goal is to improve outcomes for GARs
    • Improving their integration into their communities
    • Improving the capacity of communities to facilitate their integration
has css improved social integration for gars
Has CSS Improved Social Integration for GARs?
  • Do GARs in program actively participate in their communities and feel welcomed?
  • Have GARs in program been able to make effective use of health and human services and community resources?
  • What general evidence is there regarding the long-term integration outcomes for CSS GAR participants?
what is integration
What is integration?
  • Equal outcomes and opportunities for refugees relative to majority population
    • But also a long-term process
  • Changes in the community that refugees settle into to accommodate refugee characteristics
  • Social integration includes functional as well as subjective integration
  • These different dimensions are interrelated

Correa-Velez, Gifford, & Barnett, 2010; Korac, 2003; Phillimore& Goodson, 2008

current presentation
Current presentation
  • Revisit vulnerabilities
    • In light of changes in characteristics of refugees arriving in Canada
    • In light of longer term outcomes
  • Include some of the missing dimensions of integration
    • Changes in community
    • Subjective integration
  • Explore how different dimensions of integration are related to one another
social integration model
Social Integration Model

Ager & Strang, 2008; Hynie 2013

social integration model1
Social Integration Model

Ager & Strang, 2008; Hynie 2013;

evaluation approach
Evaluation Approach
  • Comparing outcomes and experiences across sites
    • How does context matter?
  • Comparing outcomes and experiences of GARs with nonGARs
    • How does CSS program matter?
  • Hiring and training of community members to collect data
    • 6 cities, 7 languages, 19 peer researchers
demographic information
Demographic information

Client Database

Survey Data

countries of origin
Countries of origin

Top six countries of origin of clients in CSS database by city, 2008-2013

Top countries of origin in survey respondents by city

challenges to integration
Challenges to integration
  • Coming from a refugee camp or rural region
  • Serious physical and/or mental health issues in one’s family
  • Family size
  • Language ability
  • Literacy and education
  • Age at migration(older more difficult)
coming from refugee camps
Coming from refugee camps
  • Start over, if a person he is new in everything. He wants to function like a normal person, but he really doesn’t know how to start. You have been working, since you have been 18, and there is a man who has been in the Congo, or in Somalia, or have been only learning and thinking about food they don’t know about anything they don’t how to buy a house, a car the only thing, they don’t even know the laws, they have forgotten the laws in their homeland because of so much time in other countries, so all of those stuff, orientation is most important to us. Like new people.

Client Focus Group

previous living conditions education level of clients by previous living conditions in percentage
Previous living conditions:Education level of clients by previous living conditions, in percentage
complexities around past living conditions
Complexities around past living conditions
  • Those coming from refugee camps are more likely to have challenges around education and acculturation
  • This can then create challenges for learning the new language, and navigating the new systems
chronic and or complex health issues
Chronic and/or complex health issues
  • …my sister is crippled and she is in a wheel chair. So, now we are applying for the community house, with a wheelchair accessible unit. And up to now we didn’t get it, and they tell us it will take so long. And the building we live, like we are three times fire alarm. When there is fire alarm, you cannot take the elevator. So, my sister is heavy, like 72 kg, and she has a wheelchair. We have to carry her on the stairs…Client Focus Group
  • In terms of school system as well, when we are having children with disability. It’s really hard to find a proper space for those kids and taking time and energy to do it, that is from assessment to being able to enroll a child in proper schoolManager Interview
But perceived health decreases for all: Percent of survey respondents evaluating their health as good by year since arrival, survey data
complexities around health
Complexities around health
  • Chronic health issues in the family create challenges around finding appropriate housing, maintaining employment, and accessing education
  • But health overall also appears to be deteriorating, consistent with the Healthy Immigrant Effect observed with voluntary migrants

De Maio & Kemp, 2010

family size
Family size

Mostly an issue around housing

  • So we need to look for things ourselves, but as “name” has said, those who come from a big family with the rooms, here it’s insufficient.

Client Focus Group (Translated)

  • For her part, with the welcome services, the only problem that was in regards to housing. The apartment isn’t sufficient, there isn’t enough space and she’s had some difficulties because in her culture, brothers and sisters do not share their room, and because of this there have been conflicts.

Client Focus Group (Interpreted)

complexities around family size
Complexities around family size
  • Family size is particularly challenging in the area of housing
  • The intersection of family size and cultural norms can make this challenge even more difficult
  • I think the most important thing right now is the language. Like, if you know the language, you know everything. You can ask, you can work, you can study and finish your education. So the most important thing in here is the language

Client Focus Group.

  • Let’s say in the future they’ll meet their parents they won’t be able to communicate. What a big gap. One family, within their third generation the conversation stops. Parents don’t speak English and grandkids don’t speak Nepali.

Client Focus Group (Translated)

Language: CSS data percent reporting language needs and activities at 3 check-in time points over their first year, 2012-2013
self rated language ability by age and by time since arrival among survey respondents
Self-rated language ability by age and by time since arrival among survey respondents

Nb: 1 = poorly, 2 = somewhat well, 3 = well and 4 = very well

complexities around language
Complexities around language
  • Language is fundamental to other aspects of integration
  • Acquisition is slow
  • Acquisition occurs at different rates by age
    • So differences within families
  • While language skills essential to other aspects of integration, they are also facilitated by other aspects of integration
  • I think to point to basically after [name] point, I also noticed that those who are suffering the most or the one with the higher education comes as [Inaudible], because the expectation is that, well I'm going to this new country, I'm a medical doctor, it's okay, I'm refugee but I'm a medical doctor with all these skills, so what's going to keep me away from that. That doesn't happen. A year to three, four, they're working on that skills, they go through exams, they go through different offices and all that and after for three years, just fed up, and they find themselves at square one.

Referral Agency Focus Group

  • It’s not easy to answer because you know, with my situation, I like to have a job that is relevant to my studies. I’m pharmacist, medicinal chemist and now bio-technologist. It’s difficult to just go work for Walmart or Tim Hortons. I want something relevant to my education and it’s not easy. I’ve been looking since I graduated in July, until now and nothing. I didn’t even get to the interview yet. So I don’t know, I don’t know. If there is any good help.

Client Focus Group

Pearson correlations between ratings of language ability and ratings of job satisfaction by GARs in survey

*p < .05

complexities around education
Complexities around education
  • Low education, particularly lack of literacy, a challenge to integration
  • But high levels of education associated with high expectations
    • Those GARs with high education can be more frustrated and disappointed by losses associated with migration, and slow rate of integration
age at m igration seniors find migration challenging
Age at Migration: Seniors find Migration Challenging
  • The main thing that I think is it’s difficult for older people who don’t speak English at all. When are they going to learn to speak English and then advance? They’re not young like us and don’t speak English. Uncle and Aunty should have jobs where they don’t need to speak English like packing. If they could get that experience, it would be good. That would give them work experience.Youth Focus Group
    • For the older people, they look at their age. even if they take OSAP now, how many years until they pay this...”I don't need to take this and waste my time”. All they do is just to take care of their kids and their children, they have the perfect life and they want for them these things.

Youth Focus Group

Percent full- and part-time employment by age and length of time in Canada for GAR survey and focus group respondents
complexities around age
Complexities around age
  • Youth do better than adults, but older youth face a service gap
    • Youth 19 and older or those not in school for other reasons
  • Students in high school get support in employment training, networking and applying for university
    • if we think about education, in the school our guidance counselor has helped us a lot for... to finish the high school, where to go and what we have to study... for future life for… to improve ourself, like to get ready for the life

Youth Focus Group

  • Also find support workers may not know as much about youth needs or counsellors don’t know about refugee needs
variables that facilitate integration
Variables that facilitate integration
  • Being fluent in one of the official languages
  • Successfully obtaining appropriate employment
  • Successfully accessing appropriate education
    • And funding for education
  • Having access to an established community support network
language and employment
Language and employment
  • Wherever you go, they ask for language. What’s your English level and work experience? If you don’t have experience, you can’t get the experience and if you don’ have the language skills you can’t get through the interview. Client Focus Group
Language and EducationPercent barriers to accessing educational programs by length of time in Canada for GAR survey respondents
adequate employment
Adequate employment
  • It is difficult in this age and this highly qualified career and I go to general labour, to work as a general labour, so it is so difficult. So there is many barrier to tolerate this condition.

Client Focus Group

  • Yea, and people know that they can't support their families and themselves and people know that they are government assisted refugees, they are on welfare so, yea, it's $3 [an hour] and they are working maybe 12 hours a day for 2 weeks and they are getting paid like $500 for 2 weeks and because the employers know that you cannot work and cannot for the checking job, they take disadvantage

Youth Focus Group

adequate education
Adequate education
  • …for me, like my situation was even tougher because like uh I already knew English and I already had 3 years architecture back home in my country and when I came here I wanted to go right away to university but all the options that was provided … was adult high school or going to LINC classes or ESL but for me it was, as I said, not tailored, so uh, no one even knew or even encouraged me to go. That was only me and by myself going and asking and, as XX said, finding out about the universities and which universities.

Youth Focus Group

  • Unfortunately, LINC classes, these classes are not based on the needs of the client, there is not instruction for newcomers, you say they put someone whose 90 years old with the 22 years old young person. Culture issues between different families who are old and young also become an issue because there is a lot of technology and each country is different. You have people from Iran, Iraq and other countries, they come with a very high level of education and there are people that come with very low life skills…that’s why I’m saying we should see them different, that’s the challenge that our clients are facing

Staff Focus Group

f unding to access education
Funding to access education
  • For the older people, they look at their age. Even if they take OSAP now, how many years until they pay this...”I don't need to take this and waste my time”.

Youth Focus Group

  • What I understand is that people usually have to go fulltime [for employment training] and most people are going to school or language course so in that sense it is difficult to attend these courses fulltime.

Client Focus Group

  • So I felt like I would be under pressure, I would be forced to find a job, and leave school Youth Focus Group
community and relationships
Community and relationships
  • [They are] distributed across the city, but I'll say that their community… for example the Bhutanese clients are in the same area, Iraqis are in the same area. We have a large population of Iraqi, Somalis and Bhutanese in the South East area

Manager Interview

  • The women have been truly in depression…I am providing a workshop to them. Most of the time they are just crying. Separation, being new here, their husband is gone from the house, morning to night. Most of them, were living in Afghanistan in a big family…

Referral Agency Group

relationships support access to other forms of integration
Relationships support access to other forms of integration
  • I found [my job] because my friend worked there…. I had put in my resume in all the malls all over London, just Gas stations no, and it is very hard to find work but if you have someone with work, it is a little bit shorter
            • Client Focus Group
  • Sometimes it’s just people meeting each other, going to an office and building a relationship with Sue behind the desk who now knows, well, “Oh yeah, this person is a GAR. I need to do X, Y, Z, right?” So I think it’s those, even relationships, that are never kind of, even, known that make a big difference. ‘Cause they are not at a system change level. More one on one. But the opening of many doors, right?
            • Manager Interview
Other integration factors support building relationshipsWhere did you meet your friends from outside of your community?
relationships between factors
Relationships between factors
  • Different aspects of integration support one another
  • Functional integration leads to subjective integration
    • P1: One way you feel like a Canadian is like, the obvious one, is having Canadian citizenship, but not just Canadian citizenship, Canadian experience, Canadian education, and be part of Canadian community, knowing what is going on in your neighbourhood, being aware
    • P2: And you have to speak like them.
    • P1: you have to speak either English or French

Youth Focus Group

relationships between factors1
Relationships between factors
  • You need to go through education and of course through school you get connected to the community, you get to know the different cultures because at school you meet many people and make friends, and you make, you feel more comfortable in the community where you’re living.

Youth Focus Group

  • Because you know I told about from job, when you have job and to give to Canada you feel this is your home.

Client Focus Group

summary and conclusions
Summary and Conclusions
  • Vulnerabilities and pathways to integration are complex
    • Different intersections of identities challenges different aspects of integration
    • May need to better personalize services—one size does not fit all
  • Integration is a long process….and takes longer for some refugees than others
    • CSS program may be too short for clients with some vulnerabilites
  • Integration is a holistic process
    • The different elements of integration influence one another
    • CSS model based on a holistic approach
      • Should continue to recognize and encourage these relationships, and perhaps even strengthen their involvement in some areas (e.g., employment)