People of SU

Amelia Derr partners with City's Office for Immigrant and Refugee Affairs

October 10, 2018

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Amelia Derr, assistant professor of social work, continued her partnership with the City of Seattle Office for Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA) by offering two community-based programs recently. Derr and the OIRA team completed the second year of the Immigrant Family Institute (IFI) in June, a program designed to build systems knowledge, leadership and self-advocacy skills for immigrant families with youth of ages 10-14 who have had experience with the juvenile justice system or feel vulnerable to having such an experience. 

The focus of the IFI is to: 

  • build youth and caregiver knowledge and advocacy skills regarding their rights in the juvenile justice, law enforcement, education, and city service systems
  • build and heal relationships between police officers and immigrant families
  • increase police officer knowledge and cultural responsiveness regarding immigrant families 

More than 70 youths participated in the program this year.  The IFI is currently being featured as a model program by the Police Executive Research Forum, a national organization that sets best practices in policing. 

Building on the success of the IFI, and in response to requests from the participants, Derr and partners at OIRA developed and ran Strengthening Immigrant Families (SIF), a program to support family cohesion adapted from the Strengthening Families Program 10-14, an evidence-based prevention program. This past summer the first pilot session was delivered in four languages simultaneously to great success. This is the first time this evidence-based program has been adapted for multi-lingual participants. It will run again next year. 

- College of Arts and Sciences