Interventions Supporting the Social Integration of Refugee Children and Youth in School Communities: A Review of the Literature

A Review of the Literature

Keywords: migration, refugees, children and youth, prevention


Schools function as a primary driver of integration and as a link to resources and assets that promote healthy development. Nevertheless, most research studies on school-based programs are conducted on mainstream students, and school professionals looking to deliver interventions serving refugee students are forced to choose between evidence-based programs designed for the mainstream and developing new programs in the cultural framework of their students. The purpose of this literature review is to provide a summary of recent research on successful, evidence-based programs as well as promising interventions and practice recommendations in five core practice areas in schools: school leadership and culture, teaching, mental health, after-school programming, and school-parent-community partnerships. These findings are presented drawing from theoretical frameworks of ecological systems, social capital, segmented assimilation, resilience, and trauma, and describe how such theories may be used to inform programs serving refugee children and youth. Additionally, this review describes the core components of successful programs across these practice areas to inform researchers and practitioners as they select and develop programs in their own school communities. Finally, this review concludes with a discussion of human rights in the education of refugee children and youth.

Author Biographies

Andrew D. Reynolds, UNC Charlotte

Assistant Professor

UNC Charlotte School of Social Work

Rachel Bacon, UNC Charlotte

MSW Student

UNC Charlotte School of Social Work


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