Keeping Newcomer Youth Safe

Newcomer adults face many settlement challenges upon arrival to Canada, such as finding appropriate employment and accommodation, adjusting to a new culture and learning English. Newcomer youth also face many challenges; however these are often not recognized.

Research shows that newcomer youth are especially vulnerable to at-risk behaviour.  Experts working with troubled immigrant youth say there are many reasons why they are particularly vulnerable to at-risk behaviour.  Some of these reasons include:

  • The pressures of "fitting in" with their Canadian peers.
  • Experiencing discrimination.
  • Being troubled by their parents' stress.
  • Adjusting to a new education system.

There are several things you can do to keep your kids happy and safe.

1. Get involved. Take notice of what your children are going through and take an interest in their activities.

2. Pay attention. Communicate frequently with your children's teachers and monitor their schoolwork.

3. Keep up. Take ESL classes in order to keep up with your children. They will learn quickly and you should be available to answer any questions to the best of your ability.

4. Inspire them. Set a good example by keeping a positive attitude and being active in your community.   This kind of activity goes a long way toward keeping your child involved in something meaningful, rather than something destructive.

5. Seek help. There are a number of programs at settlement agencies that have youth and counselling programs to help you. Many schools have settlement workers, called "SWIS" workers, with whom you can speak to.  A school settlement worker can also act as a mediator for students, parents and school staff.

6. Communicate. Even if you are going through a terrible phase in settling in Canada yourself, share this with your children. Let them know that you are working through this difficult time and looking for better opportunities.

For More Information:

Kids Help Phone -This organization offers free over the phone and online counselling for youth under 20.  They can also provide information about other services to help youth with their problems. 

Newcomer's Guides to Education - These guides explain what parents can expect from the Ontario education system and how you can help your child succeed both socially as well as academically.  

Youth Criminal Law - Practical information about youth justice, such as talking to the police, and how a youth criminal record can affect you. From Community Legal Education Ontario and Justice for Children and Youth.

NewYouth.ca - A website with information for young newcomers in Ontario. Find information about school, work, health, law and more.

Services Near Me  - This Settlement.Org service allows you to find community services in your area.

This article is by Canadian Immigrant, but the title and content were significantly changed by Settlement.Org.
Originally published in 2012.You can read the original article and other stories on CanadianImmigrant.ca.

Produced by Canadian Immigrant, a magazine that informs, educates and connects newcomers with subject matter experts and others who have travelled a similar path.

Last updated: December 29, 2016 4001607