The Diverse Needs of Displaced Children and Families in the West of Ireland
Ireland continues to receive new communities, and see growing human movement, mobility and migration from Europe, Asia and Africa. Therefore, state provisions, education facilities and organisations at all levels need to be prepared, their personnel trained and capable of working with diversity. The diverse and complex needs of displaced children and families in the West of Ireland must be approached with competence and sensitivity by all those engaged in supporting them, with an understanding of their societal structures such as gender roles and positions within families. Teachers pre- and in-service development must include intercultural training and understanding of cultural practices and structures as well as the dynamics of gender roles of different ethnic groups predominant in Ireland. Equally schools must provide appropriate induction to new families that enables both children and parents understanding of new school systems. Policies and practices provided by organisations and agencies who support both families, children and adults who are newcomers to this island should be culturally responsive and sensitive to the complexities within communities. This could create a positive outcome in terms of integration and social cohesion. It may also provide opportunities for enhanced intercultural learning and development of models of good practice that are sensitive to the needs of the most vulnerable in our society.
Santhi Corcoran is a PhD researcher at Mary Immaculate College, and a Further Education tutor with Limerick and Clare, Education and Training Board, Limerick. Her research is in the field of Sociology of Education, teacher education and diversity. She has a professional background in Healthcare, Psychology, Community Counselling and Social Care and provides training and consultancy in these areas. Santhi has worked extensively with Regeneration programmes, Community engagement programmes, Policy development and Service provision in Health and Social care in the UK. She was also responsible for the development of health and social care programmes for Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Migrant and Homeless communities in the UK for over two decades and developed the New Entrants Screening Service (now the Transitional Primary Care Service), for the National Health Service in Newham, East London, UK. Santhi has contributed to migration and integration research both in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.