Immigrant Children

Photo: Sean Hawkey

Tens of thousands of unaccompanied children seek refuge in the United States each year. Most are fleeing threats and violence in El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras.

These children are released from Office of Refugee Resettlement custody into the care of a sponsor. Most (85%) join a relative or friend already living in the United States. It is often a tough transition. They adjust to new communities, cultures, languages and family units. Each child has mental health, safety, education and legal needs that must be met.

They are facing a new world, and they are doing it with very limited help. That's where CWS comes in.

In our Home Study and Post Release Services program, CWS and our network of providers  nationwide are working with these children and their sponsors. In the Home Study part of the program, we will visit the homes where children will be living before they get there. We will interview each member of the household and ensure this is a safe placement for the child while supporting the sponsor to prepare for the responsibility of promoting the  arriving child’s safety, rights and needs. Once the child is living with their sponsor, the Post Release Services component of our work starts. CWS caseworkers will work with the children and sponsors to create an action plan. They will set goals like finishing school, obtaining a legal immigration status or connecting to other community support systems. Then we will check in with the child and their sponsors at least once a month to make sure the child is safe and making progress. The entire process will take place in whatever language the child and their sponsor are most comfortable speaking.

Contact Christine Lemonda, CWS Director of Children Services, at clemonda@cwsglobal.org for more information.