Monday, April 21, 2008

Helping mixed-race children in Sheffield

'Multiple heritage' or 'mixed race' is one of the fastest growing ethnic categories in British society, and, because of its high concentration in the younger age groups is set to expand rapidly in the next decade. Studies have shown that people of mixed race suffer disproportionately from social exclusion, experience high levels of family breakdown, underachieve in school attainment and experience distinct patterns of racism. Sheffield's Multiple Heritage Service aims to help mixed-race children by carrying out group work aimed at increasing children's understanding of their cultural heritage and raising their self-esteem and by providing one-to-one mentoring for children at risk of school exclusion and/or having serious problems with identity or self-confidence. A study evaluating the work of the Multiple Heritage Service found that the group work had led to: improvements in the children's self-esteem, with more improvement among younger children and boys; improvements in well-being, with more improvement among older children and an improvement in problem behaviour among boys. Two-thirds of mothers commended the mentoring service on its positive impact on the children's well-being and happiness; a half reported positive impacts on identity. The mothers commended the positive-role-model effect same-sex mentors had on their children's behaviour, but only a third said mentoring had boosted their children's self-esteem.

Phillips, David ... [et al]- Exploring the impact of group work and mentoring for multiple heritage children's self-esteem, well-being and behaviour Health and Social Care in the Community May 2008, 16(3), 310-321

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