Vulnerable But Not Broken: Psychosocial Challenges and Resilience Pathways Among Unaccompanied Children From Central America.
Immigration Psychology Working Group.
Northwest Detention Center
Seattle Office 615 2nd Avenue, Suite 400
Seattle, WA 98104
Tel: 206-587-009 800-445-5771
This report explains that the decade from 2000 to 2010 saw a slow but steady rise in the number of unaccompanied children coming to the United States from approximately 5,000 to 8,000 children detained annually at the Southwest border. Spurred by increasing violence at home, since then their numbers have increased rapidly, from 15,949 children detained in FY 2011 to 68,541 in FY 2014. Even as efforts to restrict immigration have intensified, the number of unaccompanied children arriving has remained high, and in FY 2017, 41,435 unaccompanied children were apprehended along the U.S.-Mexico border. Pre-migration stressors and reasons for migration are then explored, including societal challenges, familial circumstances, and historical impacts. The following sections describe the journey, apprehension, and detention experiences of unaccompanied children, and their post-migration encounters. The process of family reunification, legal challenges, barriers to healthcare and education, and acculturation challenges and discrimination are discussed. Psychological considerations among unaccompanied children are reviewed, and opportunities for community integration are explored. Strategies for social justice advocacy through education are considered, as well as areas for further research. The report closes with recommendations for individual professionals, professional organizations, community organizations, and municipal, State, and federal agencies. 3 figures and numerous references.
undocumented immigrants; unaccompanied children; trend analysis; resilience; risk factors; child welfare services; Hispanics; family reunification; barriers; education; health services; mental disorders; community based services; guidelines; child welfare agencies