Immigrant Youth Well-Being

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.

Despite these needs, hardly any children receive ongoing support. They are facing a new world, and they are doing it with very limited help. That's where CWS comes in.

Our new pilot program focuses on unaccompanied children who are released to sponsors and have no other means of support. We're helping 80 youth in Florida and New Jersey access food, mental health, education and more services. Program participants are receiving care to cope with their stressors, and they are learning about their legal rights.

We're planning to scale up this work to reach more youth nationwide in the coming months and years. Contact Christine Lemonda, CWS Director of Children Services, at for more information.