Comprehensive model of social services and legal assistance to meet the physical and mental health needs of unaccompanied immigrant children

It is projected that 7,350 unaccompanied immigrant children, ages 4-17, will be sent to detention in 2006; 4,700 of these children will be released into local communities. North Carolina hosts one of the fastest growing immigrant populations in the country; annually, the federal government releases about 200 children from immigration detention into North Carolina's communities. Many of these children become foster children due to parents' deportation, parents' poor health status, coming to this country unaccompanied and cultural perceptions of neglect or abuse by authorities. After their release, only 5 percent of these children receive follow-up care for their medical, mental health and educational needs. The United States Commission of Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), in partnership with Legal Aid North Carolina, will develop a pilot project that will provide services to the children released each year to a relative or the state welfare system into North Carolina. The purpose of this project is to provide cultural and linguistically appropriate services, including home visits, referrals, legal forms, linkages to youth services, after-school programs and scheduling health visits. Further, it will implement an interdisciplinary model that links bilingual/bicultural social workers with pro bono attorneys that USCRI have identified to represent these children. The project will develop and compile resources, including "practice tips" on social services issues tailored to the needs of unaccompanied immigrant children. This information will be disseminated through the USCRI's online newsletter and its training curriculum on child and immigration law. This project will provide a state-based model of comprehensive service delivery that can be replicated in regions of the country that experience a lack of services to this population.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $410,570.00

Awarded on: 8/24/2006

Time frame: 9/1/2006 - 8/31/2009

Grant Number: 57137


United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants Inc.

2231 Crystal Drive, Suite 350
Arlington, 22202-3711


Tricia Swartz
Project Director