What Is an UNACCOMPANIED Child?

 
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An Unaccompanied Child (UC) is defined as a child under 18 years of age who has no immigration status upon entering in the United States and arrives without a parent. While there are UCs from all over the world, children from countries such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador have arrived at the Texas border with Mexico in record numbers in recent years. By law, the United States Health and Human Services department must provide for the custody and care of these children unless a sponsor can be found while they go through the immigration process. Less than 10% of UCs receives post release services.

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RST Services 

Home Studies

UC case managers  conduct  home studies to assess placement safety for children leaving federal custody. If the home is found to be safe for the child, then the child may live with the sponsor as they wait for court proceedings.

Post Release Services

UC case managers provide post-release services through advocacy and by providing referrals and ensuring access to education, supportive counseling, health and legal services for children and their family.  

Guardian Angel Program

Many unaccompanied children present their case in immigration court  without a lawyer present. The Guardian Angels Program is where Spanish-speaking volunteers are trained to observe court proceedings to ensure each child's case receives fair treatment. Volunteers also refer pro-bono and low-bono lawyers to the child if needed. 


 

Why do they Flee? 

The majority of the clients RST serves come from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. These children often flee their home country in order to escape trafficking, abuse and gang violence. 

Find out more information:

UNICEF Report -- Broken Dreams: Central American Children Dangerous Journey to the US

LIRS -- Advocating for Children

Office of Refugee Resettlement --  Unaccompanied Children Services