SUPPORTING IMMIGRANT CHILDREN SEPARATED FROM PARENTS

Presently, immigrant children who have been separated from their parents at the Mexican/US border are being flown across the country to adoption and foster care agencies where immigrant rights advocates and lawyers will begin, case-by-case, to search for their families. Children who have been separated from their parents need the caring support of a community. There is little doubt that these children have been through an extreme amount of stress, and even trauma. However, as the children enter the foster care system, and eventually schools, it is important to avoid pathologizing them as trauma victims who are unable to learn. Schools can prepare to welcome these children by providing safe, supportive, and inclusive learning environments. Trauma-informed approaches and eco-social, tiered models of academic and behavior supports, as well as culturally responsive school-based mental health services can provide ways of removing the barriers children who are experiencing traumatizing events may face in school.

As Equity Assistance Centers, we are charged to support public educational agencies with the equitable treatment of students and the protections of their civil rights, particularly in relation to their race, sex, religion, and national origin. As part of the technical assistance that we provide, we offer information, resources, and other technical assistance services to educators to support students who traverse the Mexican/US border. Below are a few resources that may be helpful in preparing to receive children who have been separated from their parents in schools.