Connecticut in the Dark about Where Immigrant Children are Housed
June 21, 2018
Some have ended up in Connecticut, but even the governor’s office doesn’t know how many.
For those who arrive, advocates are most concerned about the degree of trauma to which the children have been exposed.
Stacey Violante-Cote, director of the teen legal advocacy project at the Center for Children’s Advocacy in Hartford, said it may take some time before unaccompanied children are referred to the center, but once they are, connecting them with mental health services will be a priority.
“In addition to the trauma they’ve experienced in their home countries, they are re-traumatized just by the immigration process,” she said.
Patricia Marealle, a staff attorney on the Immigrant Children’s Justice Project at the Center for Children’s Advocacy, said her priority is making sure these children and families are aware of their rights, including gaining legal status.
“We want to make sure that families and community members and providers are aware of this special immigrant juvenile status, because if it goes underutilized our concern is that young people won’t get the protection they’re entitled to,” Marealle said.