UPDATE: CBC Hamilton feature about THRIVE's OASIS Program focuses on mental health for arriving refugees - click here.
#WELCOME REFUGEES INFORMATION FAIR: Hamilton City Hall, Tuesday, March 1, 7 - 9 pm. - click here.
As Canadian communities prepare for the arrival of Syrian refugees, our OASIS Program team is busy making sure we are ready to assist as many young people as possible when they arrive in Hamilton with symptoms of trauma. The OASIS Program is Hamilton's specialized treatment program for child and youth trauma among refugees and immigrants. Requests for this service are made by settlement services, schools, family doctors, and others who may identify a need for assessment and mental health supports within a newcomer family. We have been working with community partners to help them better understand and identify the signs of trauma, but many newcomer families will need time to address immediate needs (shelter, primary health, school registration) as a first priority. We have increased program capacity to help those newcomers who do need this support, and will continue to work with our partners in settlement, health, education, children's services, and government to enhance service levels appropriately. One-time funds from the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services will help boost capacity until March 31, and a significant investment from the Hamilton Community Foundation's ABACUS granting program will support in-school classes to help newcomer students prepare for an unfamiliar learning environment. We welcome community assistance as we ready for what could be a substantial influx of children and youth needing our help throughout 2016 and beyond. Private sponsors wanting to connect newcomers to our OASIS Program may do so by calling Contact Hamilton at 905-570-8888. More information about the OASIS Program can be found on this web site (Programs and Services tab at top) or by scrolling down on this page to OASIS Program Brochure (on right).
Ontario will likely be a major point of entry for incoming refugees over the next few months and we need to ensure the health system is ready, willing and able to assist. Refugees typically face greater settlement and integration challenges than other newcomers. Many refugees have experienced prolonged periods in refugee camps, trauma, violence, and limited access to health care and education.
Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
Those wanting more in-depth information about the health needs of refugees might want to visit www.kidsnewtocanada.ca (Canadian Paediatric Society).
(Photo by Mary-Jo Land, Kabul, Afghanistan, 2009)
Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. An impassioned plea for pediatric medicine to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on.
We encourage professionals, parents, and community members to view this informative and insightful presentation in order to better understand childhood trauma, its consequences, and the need for more prevention and education efforts as well as effective treatment responses - click here for TedTalk by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris (running time 15:58).
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have become more and more recognized as predictors of trauma and (left unresolved) future problems that can persist throughout a lifetime. Now, resources are emerging to help primary care providers understand the importance of ACEs and trauma-informed approaches specific to healthcare.
These resources draw from the latest research and evidence to inform physicians and other primary healthcare providers about effective ways to engage patients, identify trauma symptoms, and respond appropriately. Prevention and early intervention are also featured as part of an overall trauma-informed primary care approach, along with recommendations that include the need for a public health approach to child maltreatment and other ACEs.
For more information about these resources, visit:
During October, which is Child Abuse Prevention Month in Ontario, we offer an important reminder from our colleagues at the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies.
The saying "it takes a village to raise a child" is never more true than when we talk about protecting children. Keeping the most vulnerable members of our community safe is the responsibility of everyone. If you have any reason to believe that a child is in need of protection or is at risk of harm, make the call to Children's Aid.
Talking about child abuse is hard. But not as hard as seeing or suspecting that a child is being abused. If you have reasonable grounds to suspect a child is in need of help, you need to make the call. It isn't up to you to prove or investigate the abuse but it is up to you to reach out and help protect the child.
It is a basic human right to be free of harm and this especially applies to children. It is our job as adults to step up and protect all of the children in our community.
In Hamilton, call Catholic Children's Aid Society of Hamilton at (905) 525-2012, or Children's Aid Society of Hamilton at (905) 522-1121, or after hours in an emergency call (905) 522-8053. In other Ontario locations, visit www.oacas.org/childwelfare/locate.htm to find your local agency. You can report a concern anonymously, and if you do choose to provide your name it will not be released to the family involved. By making a report you are allowing the appropriate authorities to determine the risk in each situation and the kind of support and service needed to keep children safe.