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STARTTS in Schools Evaluation Report

November 2021

The STARTTS in Schools (SIS) Evaluation Report highlights the achievements of the STARTTS in Schools Strategy. It reveals how successful partnership with NSW Government has enhanced learning and wellbeing outcomes for young people with a refugee experience.

The STARTTS in Schools strategy is delivered through internal collaboration between the School Liaison Program, Child and Adolescent Counsellors and the Youth Team, together with an external partnership with the NSW Department of Education and Catholic Education Office. This integrated model has increased STARTTS’ capacity to provide targeted and specialised support to schools and refugee learners across New South Wales regardless of their visa class or date of arrival.

The report findings are divided into five chapters. The first chapter addresses the referrals and level of acceptance of STARTTS’ services, as well the number of individual and trauma-informed group-work interventions delivered by STARTTS in Schools in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The second chapter refers to professional development delivered to school staff and the third chapter explores findings related to student wellbeing outcomes as a result of their participation in STARTTS programs. Finally, the fourth and fifth chapters explore the impact of the school clusters and the Steering Committee.

The recommendations based on the findings of this report include that STARTTS in Schools should continue to provide support to children and young people of refugee background, as well as continue to enhance the capacity of those working in schools to provide appropriate support to learners with refugee experience.

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Working with People from Refugee Backgrounds: A Guide for Social Workers, 2nd Edition

July 2022

By Australian Association of Social Workers, NSW Refugee Health Service, STARTTS (Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors)

Excerpt from the Foreword by Jim Ife, PhD, Professor of Social Work, Western Sydney University:

This book is a very important practical guide to social work with refugees, much of it written by people who have refugee experience themselves, and who also have many years of experience working with refugee individuals, families and communities. It should be absolutely required reading for all social workers in contemporary Australia. But like all such guides, it is only a starting point, a beginning set of understandings for a social worker to develop their practice knowledge, skills and wisdom, which must of course be undertaken in dialogue with refugees themselves, in a variety of forums.

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STARTTS in schools: Integrating evaluation and practice to support students from refugee backgrounds

December 2019

By Shakeh Momartin, Kevin McGrath, Shaun Nemorin, Mariano Coello and Helen Bibby

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the synergies between evaluation and practice that inform STARTTS in Schools. We hope that in doing so we might contribute to further discourse about the ways in which service providers and schools that work with similarly vulnerable and marginalised groups of people might ensure their work is informed by evidence and is community oriented.

In this paper we provide some background to the current refugee context, the biopsychosocial systemic model informing our work, and the services STARTTS provides to schools. We then present an example that illustrates the way in which we integrate evaluation into practice–a mixed methods evaluation of our Capoeira Angola program for students–and discuss our experience of integrating research into practice, including what helps and some of the challenges of evaluating services when working with our vulnerable population of survivors of torture and trauma.

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Jungle Tracks: Unleashing the power of stories to heal from refugee trauma.

June 2020

By Pearl Fernandes, Yvette Aiello and Emma Pittaway

Children and young people from refugee backgrounds witness and experience multiple traumatic incidents in the context of their refugee journeys that often remain unspoken because of the inherent challenge to think and talk about these experiences. In addition, they encounter ongoing trials when transitioning to their new homes which place them at risk. Jungle Tracks was developed in 2002 to facilitate therapeutic engagement with refugee children and young people in schools, within a preventative framework.

It is a collection of five short stories that have been composed to mirror multiple traumas and cumulative struggles including grief and loss, displacement, discrimination, disempowerment, difficulties with sleep and affect regulation. Whilst communicating in a non-threatening manner, the stories encourage the reader/listener to connect and make meaning of their traumas by identifying with the protagonists in the stories.

Jungle Tracks not only bypasses initial resistance but also leverages the power of stories to instil hope and unleash innate healing forces. This paper aims to provide an overview of the Jungle Tracks programme and the results of an initial evaluation of the implementation of Jungle Tracks. This was initiated to provide direction for future research and development of the programme. It was concluded that when children and young people are given the opportunity to process and make meaning of their past traumatic experiences, it can assist them to heal and recover and also offer them the potential for post traumatic growth.

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Community partnership with Rohingya refugees in Sydney, Australia: a systemic approach towards healing and recovery

November 2019

By Shaun Anthony Nemorin, Shakeh Momartin and Mohammad Junaid

This field report highlights some modalities used in resettlement countries, such as Australia, which provide services to vulnerable Rohingya refugees. It encompasses both personal reflections coupled with an overview of the agency-based operational framework and evaluation which underpins the work of Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors and informs our community work towards the recovery of those impacted by war and systemic state-sponsored terrorism. Our aim is to further contribute to discourse about the ways in which service provision is accomplished, ensuring marginalised refugee groups are protected and supported.

A background to the current Rohingya refugee context is provided, as well as the biopsychosocial systemic model informing our work. A brief overview of our agency’s various programmes, informed by community consultations and designed to foster healing Rohingya refugees, is presented. We describe our experience in evaluating services for improving efficacy when working with traumatised populations, including recommendations towards community self-determination and asset-based community development for Rohingya refugees.

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Working to improve refugee resettlement in Australia

October 2018

By Shaun Anthony Nemorin and Peter Shergold

While a lot of media and political debate is focused on where asylum-seekers should be resettled, what issues do they face in their new homes? How do they recover from the trauma of their past and build a new life? Professor Peter Shergold is NSW Coordinator General for Refugee Resettlement and has a recent perspective paper on what he has learnt in his three years in the role.

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