Supporting the developmental health of refugee children and youth

Author(s): Ripudaman S. MINHAS ; Hamish GRAHAM ; Thivia JEGATHESAN ; Joelene HUBER ; Elizabeth YOUNG ; Tony BAROZZINO


The Canadian Government has announced that over 50,000 refugees from the Middle East will be resettled in Canada by 2018. More than one-third of these refugees are expected to be children. The Canadian Paediatric Society has called for the Canadian government to prepare for the influx of these children. This should include addressing developmental, behavioural, and mental health needs. The focus of this paper is the role of paediatricians and family physicians in caring for the developmental health of refugee children, as a means of supporting their developmental and learning potential. The authors suggest the use of EMPOWER (Education, Migration, Parents and Family, Outlook, Words, Experience of Trauma and Resources), a mnemonic checklist they developed for assessing developmental risk factors in refugee children. EMPOWER can be used along with online web resources such as Caring For Kids New to Canada in providing evidence-informed care to these children.


Tags: Middle East, Canada, Children, Adolescents, Youth, Refugees, Development, Family function, Families, Social support

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