Cover image: The Dream (2012) © Syed MosawiReproduced with permission of the artist, Syed Mosawi, who came to Australia as an unaccompanied refugee child.“The Artwork is a reflection of people who never give up and try hard to build a better world. I wish the world was a canvas so I could paint it free of intimidation and hopelessness, free of fear and distress, free of isolation and racism, free of hatred and darkness.”___________________________________
This book has been written at a time when as many children are on the move as forced migrants as at any time in human history. In 2014, UNHCR estimated that more than 59 million people were on the move as refugees or ‘persons of concern’. At least half were children. Australia has not escaped this global phenomenon: young people feature prominently in both planned humanitarian migration and asylum flows.
Rather than focus on how children seek protection, this book is about what happens afterwards. Essays by distinguished professionals in the field examine the law, policy and practice governing how refugee children are admitted and ‘settled’ into Australian society. Topics range from the ethics of researching young people from refugee backgrounds; how children are selected for inclusion in managed programs for ‘resettlement’; through to the rules for the acquisition of citizenship. The centrepiece of the work, however, are essays on what can and should be done to support and assist young refugees after they enter Australia. The core premise is that settlement matters. How these young people are treated upon and after arrival can make or break their development and future wellbeing. Young people from refugee backgrounds have often experienced extraordinary hardships and challenges. Good settlement experiences can facilitate healing, reduce traumas associated with transition into a new society and create a solid foundation for growth and development into productive adulthood. In this collection the authors discuss examples of good policy and good practice in the shared endeavour of creating New Futures for these young people.