The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights is thrilled to announce that it has won a new contract to provide Child Advocate services to unaccompanied immigrant children in Chicago, Brownsville (Harlingen), New Jersey/New York, Houston and Washington, DC. Under the contract the Young Center’s staff of Child Advocates—attorneys and social workers experienced in immigration and child welfare law and supported by an extraordinary group of bilingual, often bicultural volunteers—will accompany these children through the process of custody and their immigration cases, providing best interests recommendations, grounded in U.S. and international law, to decision makers including the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement, the Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review, and the Department of Homeland Security.
Last year, the Young Center experienced dramatic growth as we expanded from our original base in Chicago and our growing office in Harlingen, Texas to the new sites of Houston, New Jersey/New York, and the metropolitan DC area. We added to our dedicated team of attorneys and volunteer coordinators, while modestly growing the headquarters staff who make this work possible. The new contract allows us to continue this work—we will serve hundreds of children across these sites in the coming 12 months—and pursuant to the contract we will begin planning for an optional expansion to Phoenix, San Antonio and Miami in FY2017 and FY2018.
The Young Center’s Associate Director, Elizabeth Frankel, will spearhead our work under this contract. “We are deeply grateful to the hundreds of volunteers who have served, and will continue to serve as Child Advocate, and to the many donors and funders who have supported our work in ways large and small,” cheered Maria Woltjen, Director.
Today we begin another year of work in support of our mission: promoting the best interests of unaccompanied children with due regard to the child’s expressed wishes, according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. For more information, or to participate in the October Child Advocate trainings in Chicago, Houston, or the Washington, DC area, please call 773-702-9560.