Youth who have recently immigrated to a new country face many challenges related to their new circumstances. Migration often involves the separation of families and changed roles within families. It can be a traumatic experience that affects children and youth's sense of well-being and can be compounded further by instances of racism and bullying that youth may experience. To help immigrant and refugee families deal with trauma, child welfare professionals should familiarize themselves with and implement culturally sensitive, evidence-based, and trauma-informed practices. Professionals working with immigrant or refugee youth can use the resources on this page to find information about family separation, trauma, legal issues, and other difficulties commonly faced by these young people.
Addressing the Intergenerational Mental Health Needs of Refugee Families With Young Children [Webinar]
Migration Policy Institute (2018)
Discusses the specific mental health needs of young children from refugee families as well as ways that these needs can be addressed at a local level.
Child Welfare Screening Sheet: Determining Potential Avenues for Legal Status
Immigrant Legal Resource Center (2021)
Guides child welfare professionals through the process of identifying a path for noncitizen youth to gain legal status.
Children, Youth, and Families Who Experience Migration-Related Trauma and Family Separation (PDF - 554 KB)
National Child Traumatic Stress Network (2021)
Explains unaccompanied children in the United States; how traumatic separation affects immigrant children, youth, and families; and what can be done to help this population.
Culturally-Responsive Approaches to Serve Latin American Children Who Experience Traumatic Separation
National Child Traumatic Stress Network (2020)
Highlights trauma-informed, culturally responsive strategies for serving children and youth who have migrated to the United States from Latin America.
Discrimination and Bullying of Refugee Youth
Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services
Presents information about bullying that refugee youth may experience and best practice tips for mitigating those negative or traumatic experiences.
How the Child Welfare System Can Better Respond to Needs of Children From Immigrant Families [Webinar]
Migration Policy Institute (2021)
Offers a webinar on how child welfare agencies can improve their responsiveness to the needs of immigrant families and promote the well-being of immigrant children.
Safety Planning with Unaccompanied Refugee Minors [Webinar]
Fleischauer & Coleman (2021)
Describes warning signs that an unaccompanied refugee youth may be at risk of sex and labor trafficking. Once identified, this resource supports professionals in creating effective safety plans and engaging related service providers to support these youth.
Serving LGBTQIA Children Who Are Seeking Protection [Webinar]
Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights (2021)
Shares a webinar that discusses how to work with immigrant children who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, or asexual/aromantic/agender (LGBTQIA) who are escaping violence and persecution based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Supporting Children and Parents Affected by the Trauma of Separation
Bartlett & Ramos-Olazagasti (2018)
Child Trends & National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families
Discusses the intersectional work necessary in implementing trauma-informed care to address the negative effects of family separation throughout the migration experience.
Talking About Race and Racism: Tips for Conversations With Refugee Youth
Chapman & Kubwayo (2020)
Ethiopian Community Development Council
Provides tips to support child welfare workers explaining historical and current racial issues to refugee youth settling in the United States. Tips include tailoring information to individuals and connecting youth to resources.
Trauma-Informed Care Model for Immigrant Hispanic and Latino Clients
National Hispanic and Latino Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network (2021)
Emphasizes providing culturally responsive, trauma-informed mental health services to immigrant children and families. The resource describes key components of immigrant Hispanic and Latino families’ traumatic experiences.
What is Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)? (PDF - 574 KB)
Immigrant Legal Resource Center (2022)
Offers an overview of Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), who may be eligible for the status, and what SIJS provides to those who qualify.
Youth Voice: Listening to Refugee and Immigrant Youth
Bridging Refugee Youth & Children’s Services
Reviews ways to incorporate youth voice into planning activities that affect them and links to resources on arts programming to help promote the creativity and input of youth.