Circles of care
Supporting Refugee Families, Children and Adolescents - Thesis Carlijn van Es (2022)
Worldwide, 80 million people have been forced to leave their homes because of war and persecution. More than a third are children and adolescents under the age of 18. Most flee with their families, but some do so without parents or guardians. They are referred to as Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URMs). This thesis examined the support provided to refugee families, children, and adolescents in the Netherlands.
Carlijn van Es focused on two central themes: refugee families and unaccompanied refugee minors. The study answers the questions: how can refugee families be supported in improving family functioning and social support? And: how can unaccompanied refugee minors be supported in improving caregiver relationships and mental health?
Van Es used various informants and a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. This was to give a voice to the participating refugees and others closely involved in their lives, including guardians, mentors, mental health professionals, and intercultural mediators.
Two programmes developed
Two programmes were developed specifically for refugee families and unaccompanied refugee minors settling in the Netherlands: a preventive programme for families living in an asylum seekers' centre (Family Empowerment; FAME), and a multimodal, trauma-focused treatment approach for unaccompanied refugee minors. Several chapters evaluate the feasibility and potential effectiveness of these two programmes.
Van Es: 'The complex content concerning refugees and asylum seekers in the Netherlands is reflected in the challenges we faced during our study. My thesis provides an overview of the specific situations refugee families and unaccompanied refugee minors find themselves in. It highlights the importance of this population's socio-ecological system. We set out several implications for improving research, clinical care, and the implementation of programmes for asylum seekers and refugees.'
ARQ Nationaal Psychotrauma Centrum