Recognizing the need to help children feel at ease during intake and assessment interviews, USCCB/MRS (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops/Migration and Refugee Services) developed a short guide for individuals working with children, as a reminder of some of the key considerations of child-friendly interviewing. While not an exhaustive list, this guide shares some of the most salient Do’s and Don’ts of creating a child-friendly environment for interviews with young people.

Refugee and asylee children, and other young people on the run, have often endured harrowing experiences before, during, and after fleeing from home. As a result, they may have difficulty trusting others, especially adults or others in positions of authority, and they may not understand the purpose behind questions posed by service providers. As service providers, it is important that we keep this important truth in mind as we interact with youth. Using simple age-appropriate language that children will understand and creating an environment where youth feel free and safe to express themselves are just some of the ways that service providing staff can help children feel comfortable answering questions.


This month’s guest blogger: Lindsay Stepp, Refugee Child Protection Coordinator, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops/Migration and Refugee Services (USCCB/MRS)