New Americans Project Final Report Published

The New Americans Project, a collaboration of the Muskie School of Public Service with 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.

Co-authored by Helen Ward and Julie Atkins of the Cutler Institute’s Children, Youth & Families Program, the study focuses on new American communities in Denver, Colorado, and Portland, Maine: Mexican immigrants in the former; 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 the culture, that influence the child care decisions of refugee and immigrant parents. 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 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 is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children, Youth and Families, Office of Policy, Research and Evaluation.