Challenges to parenting in a new culture: Implications for child and family welfare

Eval Program Plann. 2010 Aug;33(3):324-32. doi: 10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2009.05.002. Epub 2009 May 27.


Increasing numbers of families arriving through Australia's humanitarian settlement scheme are coming into contact with Australian child protection systems. A large number of these families come from African and Middle Eastern countries and have common experiences of trauma, dislocation, loss and many are victims of genocide, war, and torture. Pre-migration experiences together with the considerable challenges of settling into a new country can significantly affect family well-being and parenting practices. It is therefore important that child and family welfare service planners are well informed about how best to support refugee families using culturally competent family intervention and community development practices. This paper draws on the findings of a research project designed to examine why recently arrived families from refugee backgrounds are presenting in the South Australian child protection system and to identify culturally appropriate strategies for intervention. The paper presents findings from the project that relate to (1) refugee parents', community members' and child protection practitioners' perspectives on the challenges to being a refugee parent in Australia and (2) strategies and resources relevant to prevention and early intervention in refugee families before statutory child protection intervention becomes necessary.

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Africa / ethnology
  • Australia
  • Child
  • Child Welfare*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cultural Competency
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Middle East / ethnology
  • Parenting / ethnology*
  • Refugees*
  • Young Adult