The New Americans project, a collaboration between the USM Muskie School and Oldham Innovative Research, has released its final report, New Americans: Child Care Decision-making of Refugee and Immigrant Parents of English Language Learners, an in-depth exploration of two cities whose experiences with immigration reflect those of the country as a whole.
The study, co-authored by Helen Ward and Julie Atkins of the Cutler Institute’s Children, Youth & Families program, focuses on new American communities in Denver, Colorado, and Portland, Maine: Mexican immigrants in the former and Cambodian, Somali, and Sudanese refugees in the latter. With the help of a diverse advisory committee, project staff sought to identify and understand the factors, both across and within cultures, that influence the child care decisions of refugee and immigrant parents.
“It is critical to include the voices of these parents when considering policies that will affect their children and families,” the authors note. A better understanding of the child care experiences and concerns of these parents, along with an enhanced capacity to serve these families in a culturally sensitive and welcoming way and greater access to high quality programs, are important components of efforts to boost the school readiness of children from refugee and immigrant families.
Findings from New Americans will help inform policy making as well as the practices of child care providers and local, state, and private nonprofit agencies in both meeting the child care needs of the refugee and immigrant communities, and enhancing the later school success of young ELL children. In addition, the authors hope this study will help establish the groundwork for future examination of these issues, particularly as they apply to communities with multiple cultural groups, an increasingly common reality across the United States.
This project was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children, Youth and Families, Office of Policy, Research and Evaluation.
For more information, see: http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/newamericans/