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Child & Youth Care Forum

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Background There is a well-documented need for more responsive promotion and prevention programming for young immigrants and refugees in the context of mental health and healthy development. Incorporating the voice of newcomers in the development of promotion and prevention efforts could assist in producing culturally-relevant materials and improve program outcomes. Objective Our goal was to utilize youth voice to identify considerations for developing programming to support newcomer youths’ healthy development. Methods We employed mixed methods and analyzed data using concept mapping. A total of 37 newcomers between the ages of 14 and 22 participated in focus groups to share their ideas for creating programming that would focus on relationships and well-being. Relevant responses were collated, cleaned, and generated into unique statements, and then sorted individually by 26 youth into thematically similar categories. We used multidimensional scaling and hierarchal cluster analysis to produce a concept map. Results Six concepts, in rank order of importance, emerged as follows: create a space for sharing; discuss relational issues; teach strategies for adjusting to a new country; teach wellness skills; have feel-good activities; and plan for diversity. Conclusions Participants’ lived experience and their own attendance in programming at newcomer organizations assisted them in brainstorming what types of activities, topics, and skills would be helpful for other newcomer youth, as well as considerations for facilitators implementing such programming. Promotion and prevention efforts intended for newcomer youth may benefit by incorporating ideas from the concept map.

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