Syrian Refugee Families with Young Children: An Examination of Strengths and Challenges During Early Resettlement

  • Sophie Yohani University of Alberta
  • Larissa Brosinsky University of Alberta
  • Anna Kirova University of Alberta


With the arrival of a large number of Syrian families to Canada, educators and other service providers are reflecting on best practices to support the psychosocial adaption of refugees from conflict settings. This article draws on a study that examined the psychosocial adaptation of Syrian refugee families with young children in Western Canada, and uses the RAISED Between Cultures framework to discuss their strengths and identified barriers during early resettlement. Using a community-based participatory research approach and critical incident method, the study involved focus groups and semi-structured interviews with ten Arabic-speaking cultural brokers who were working with Syrian refugee families using holistic supports during early resettlement. Data were analyzed thematically both across and within 10 cases, then examined in light of six factors that contribute to refugee children’s outcomes as identified in the RAISED Between Cultures framework. As key figures in refugee children and families’ adaptation to their host country, educators can draw on these findings to identify families’ and children’s’ strengths and challenges during early resettlement to ensure positive child outcomes.

Author Biography

Sophie Yohani, University of Alberta
Associate Professor, Counselling Psychology Department of Educational Psychology