The Immigrants and Refugees New Arrivals Advocacy Project

Field of Work: Access to education and health care for immigrant and refugee children Problem

Synopsis: More than 30 million immigrants and refugees live in the United States, and they often have chronic health problems due to difficulty getting appropriate social and health services. For children, the situation is aggravated by their parents’ lack of understanding about medical options in the United States and by medical professionals’ lack of cultural competence.

Synopsis of the Work: The Center for Children’s Advocacy in Hartford, Conn., working with Jubilee House (a nonprofit that provides settlement and case management services), identified new immigrant and refugee families in need of health care and educational services, linked them with available services and provided training to families on their rights and available services. The staff also provided support to medical professionals and educators on the cultural context and barriers faced by immigrant and refugee children.

Key Findings

The Immigrants and Refugees New Arrivals Advocacy Project served 436 children through legal consultations, representation and non-legal advocacy. The project also trained 303 parents, immigrant support professionals, educators, attorneys and medical professionals.

Some 91 percent of medical and other professionals who attended a training became more knowledgeable about education and health issues that have a legal component; 94 percent of the children who received legal representation increased their access to appropriate education and health care; and 89 percent of the children represented for non-medical reasons experienced a reduction in the stressor that affected their health.