Partnering with Parents and Families to Support Immigrant and Refugee Children at School

Over the past two decades, an influx of immigrants and refugees has changed the face of American classrooms. In search of a better life for their children, immigrants and refugees have high aspirations and care greatly for their children’s education. Yet this is not what you hear from American educators. Faculty and administrators raise concerns that these students don’t pay attention in class, act out, lack basic social skills, and that their families don’t support the school.

Caring Across Communities is improving the disconnect. With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 15 sites across the United States are developing model mental health programs that engage schools, families, students, mental health agencies and other community organizations to build effective, easily-accessed services for children and youth.

This paper outlines model programs that engage communities and community organizations to build effective and easily-accessible mental health services for children and youth. Some of the issues addressed in this paper include: The impact of the immigrant and refugee experience; partnering with immigrant families to support mental health; offering school-based mental health services; and the changing face of American classrooms.