Back in 2000, to meet the needs of an ever growing and diverse population, Peel CAS developed an immigration team to support children, youth and families experiencing immigration challenges. Today, Peel CAS remains the only CAS in Ontario to have a specialized immigration team. Together, they speak multiple different languages and come from a variety of cultural and religious backgrounds. Their first hand immigration experience is invaluable as they work to support newcomers facing settlement challenges.
The Immigration Team provides services related to a range of immigration-related issues within a child welfare context. These include supporting children and families with unresolved immigration status issues (in care and in the community), unaccompanied and separated minors, and providing support for newcomers with children who are experiencing settlement issues.
The team has developed specialized expertise in responding to children and youth who have faced a range of significant challenges including: abandonment, abduction, abuse, denial of education, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, human trafficking and smuggling, persecution due to sexuality, political persecution, prostitution, and war/genocide.There are also re-settlement challenges to consider such as gaps in education, adequate housing/long term accommodation, language barriers, and figuring out how to navigate through multiple systems.
The specialized Immigration Team is regularly asked to provide consultative support to children’s aid societies across Ontario, School Boards, Office of the Children’s Lawyer, Ontario Works, the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, and various Consulates and Embassies. The Immigration Team assists in ensuring that the appropriate child welfare agency is involved and/or the appropriate referrals to community services/supports are made.