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Children who enter the United States not in the company of a parent or guardian and without legal status are often detained by the Department of Homeland Security. These children are referred to as Unaccompanied Children. Once apprehended, they are placed in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. All Undocumented Children have the opportunity to pursue reunification with a family member, otherwise known as a “sponsor,” in the United States. The sponsor agrees to care for the child until a decision is made on his or her immigration case. Some children are eligible for case management services following release from federal custody. These children often have experienced severe trauma in their country of origin or during their journey to the US and benefit from the additional support of a social worker or case manager during their transition to the sponsor’s home. Many UAC are able to adjust their immigration status and remain legally in the US.
Once here, children need support for their basic needs and compassion to overcome the trauma they have experienced. These same vulnerable children also benefit from the tireless advocacy of our case workers, who make essential community connections to create a nurturing environment for a fresh start. Many children are in serious need of social services due to extensive histories of abuse, trauma or neglect. We ensure the child’s safety after reunification with their family through the provision of in-home social services and linkages to education, legal, health and mental health providers.