Below are some common reasons why families might access healthcare.
Select the ones you consider to be relevant to migrant families and children:
Your working practice need not vary widely when working with families from migrant communities.
However, a better understanding of barriers to access, cultural sensitivities, supportive factors and areas of concern will make you more confident in responding to safeguarding issues when they arise.
- The training module on Reducing Barriers to Access will give you more concrete ideas and recommendations about addressing low uptake of these universal checks.
- The training module on Communication Skills will support you in booking and using interpreters, as well as dealing with situations where there is no interpreter.
- The training module on Culture will strengthen your understanding of working in a culturally sensitive and competent manner.
- The following exercise will discuss the supportive factors and areas of concern which may impact on your practice with migrant families.
Supportive factors, myths and concerns
Are the following statements true or false? Check your answers as you go along to find out more.
1. Babies can absorb as many as three languages at home and grow up to be fluent in all of them
2. Grandparents who don’t speak English cannot provide good childcare and should not be left in charge of young children
3. Some communities share responsibility for children.
4. All African girls under the age of seven have female circumcision.
5. Spending time with people who have had similar life experiences can be really good for your emotional well-being.
6. Muslim girls are forced to wear headscarves.
- Although multilingualism sometimes delays the early development of speech, the added stimulation of hearing two or more languages spoken in the home is good for intellectual development.
- Multilingualism is also important for strengthening cultural identity and a feeling of belonging.
- The extended family and grandparents in particular, can be invaluable in terms of the skills and experience as well as sharing the load of child rearing. This is the norm in most cultures and the loss of this support can be a source of grief.
- The isolated nuclear family with parents taking full and sole responsibility for the children is unfamiliar and can lead to misunderstandings with services in the UK. Guidance may be needed to support people to understand the very different conditions in the UK.
- Remember that culture is context, not an explanation or excuse for certain practices or patterns of behaviour, such as FGM or excessive methods of disciplining children.
- FGM and travelling to perform FGM is illegal in the UK.
- Social support is a strong preventative factor for mental health. Measures to reduce social isolation should be considered before referral to mental health services in many cases.
- If in doubt, ask. Genuine and respectful questions that show interest are usually acceptable.