Immigrant Children’s Justice Project – Protection and Education for New Arrivals

There are growing numbers of immigrant children in Connecticut. Most are from Central America and South America, but children also arrive from Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean.

A forgotten population, these students are under the radar of educators. They have very few advocates to draw attention to their needs. 

Many children have significant trauma related to arrival in the United States. They fled abuse and neglect and live in constant fear of being returned to life-threatening conditions. Many arrive here alone, without a parent or guardian. English is not their primary language. Education is hampered by trauma and inconsistent schooling.

The Center for Children’s Advocacy helps at-risk children avoid deportation to a dangerous environment, and helps traumatized children get the support they need to learn English and succeed in school.


“The Center’s legal advocacy for immigrant children fills an enormous need in Connecticut. Without Center for Children’s Advocacy attorney Edwin Colon, these children would slip through the cracks. His expertise helps hundreds of at-risk children, educates Connecticut attorneys and guides the state in supports for children who desperately need help to find safety, security and educational success.”

– Claudia Connor, President and CEO, Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants






Education, Health, Trauma
  • English Language Learners (ELL)
  • Child victims of trauma – health and mental health care
  • Interrupted education – special education supports
  • Systemic educational improvements – implementation by school systems
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
  • Attorney training for pro bono representation of abused, neglected or abandoned undocumented children
  • Allows child to apply for lawful permanent residence
  • Attorney training to help children under age 18 apply for asylum relief
Protections for Youth in DCF Care
  • Training DCF staff to increase protections for undocumented youth in care


Legislative Initiatives

Raised Bill 5185: An Act Concerning Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
Legislation would amend Section 45a-608n of the General Statutes to allow youth between the ages of 18 – 21 who have experienced abuse, neglect or abandonment as children and are dependent on the probate court the ability to have a guardian appointed and obtain Special Immigrant Juvenile Status findings to ensure their continued safety and well-being.  


CCA Attorney Edwin Colon and clients, testifying at Children’s Committee Hearing on February 27, 2018 in support of Raised Bill 5185.

For more information, contact project director Edwin Colon: or 203-335-0719
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