CWICE is pleased to announce the public release of its report entitled Unaccompanied and Separated Children under CUAET: A call to position Canada as Best in Class Leader in the protection and welfare of children and youth.
The report was researched and developed in partnership with Jewish Immigrant Aid Services Toronto (JIAS Toronto) and commissioned by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), to offer recommendations on how Canada could better support Unaccompanied and Separated Children (UASC) with CUAET (Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel) visas and more broadly. The report offers recommendations based on CWICE’s expertise with UASC, and as thought leader on the intersection of child welfare and immigration, along with research and focus groups conducted with 36 individuals from 26 organizations.
The report recommends expanding financial supports for those arriving under the CUAET program to improve equity when compared to other immigration and refugee programs; creating a shared definition of what constitutes a UASC across the country; and creating a national process to identify and register UASC with a centralized agency to ensure these vulnerable young people are safe and connected to the resources they need. The report also provides systemic recommendations, including training on the Best Interests of the Child for immigration officials and service providers, and a focus on family reunification.
“Canada is widely known as a global leader in welcoming and supporting immigrants and refugees,” said Liz Okai, manager at CWICE. “This report and recommendations for a national strategy in welcoming and supporting Unaccompanied and Separated Children only solidifies Canada’s position and image around the world. Thanks to the organizations who contributed to this report through the focus groups, and a big thank you to JIAS Toronto and IRCC for partnering with CWICE and funding the project!”
The report has been submitted to IRCC for its consideration. As CWICE has built strong relationships and networks across Canada, both within child welfare and in cross-sector partnerships, it is well positioned to provide leadership on the development of a Canadian framework and guidelines to support UASC, as recommended in the report.
“This report demonstrates the importance of having a national strategy, in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to ensure we all play a role in ensuring equitable outcomes for all children and youth regardless of their geographical location in Canada,” said Claudia Obreque, Immigration Specialist at CWICE. The agency looks forward to continuing this important discussion and working with partners across the country to provide the best support possible to Unaccompanied and Separated Children and youth.
Thanks to the CWICE project team for all their work researching and preparing this report. Special recognition is due to team members Alicja Grabarczyk, Claudia Obreque, Danielle Ungara, Jayachandran Soloman, Liz Okai, Mandisa Sifelani, and Natalia Valencia.