BOSTON – Nov. 17, 2022 – The International Institute of New England (IINE) is expanding its program to aid unaccompanied children as they arrive in the United States through the U.S. asylum system following an Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) announcement expanding program eligibility to all minors being reunited with relatives or sponsors. IINE’s program expansion will allow the organization to double the number of children in its care. 

IINE’s Unaccompanied Children’s program helps connect mostly Central American children forced to migrate because of violence, poverty, and deprivation in home countries with relatives or family ties in the U.S. while providing intensive trauma care, case management services, and professional support. The IINE program serves more than 300 children annually and beginning this fall it will expand the number of children served, add deeper support, and expand the geographic reach of services. 

“IINE’s Unaccompanied Children’s program serves families throughout New England and is USCRI’s only provider in the region; a partnership that has existed for nearly a decade,” says program director Sofie Suter.  The program’s growth will allow us to reach more families and help them thrive in their new environment by linking children to the support they need and families with tools to work towards growth and stability.” 

The program expansion, which will come into full effect by the end of 2023, will allow IINE to add a clinical level of care to support services and allow for three teams of dedicated and prepared case specialists and social workers to serve over 600 children in the New England and New York area each year. The goals of expansion are to: 

  • Meet the needs of unserved or underserved children apprehended and in federal care and requiring support services  
  • Support reunification of children with their U.S.-based families, prioritizing each child’s safety and preventing abuse, neglect, trafficking, and runaway crises 
  • Enable equitable access to education and resources that benefit reunified children with the goal of increasing literacy and adjustment to U.S. culture  
  • Increase family stabilization and trauma recovery supports     

For more than a decade, a steadily and rapidly increasing number of youth from the “Northern Triangle” region of Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) have been forced to cross the Mexico/U.S. border unaccompanied, to seek refuge from violence stemming from crime and violence, extreme poverty, and political instability. IINE has responded by helping to reunify children, some as young as two years old, with their U.S. based families, connect them with mental and physical health services, help them find an attorney to support their asylum process, and enroll them in public school and/or programs that prepare them for education or work. 

ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF NEW ENGLAND 

The mission of the International Institute of New England is to create opportunities for refugees and immigrants to succeed through resettlement, education, career advancement, and pathways to citizenship. Each year, IINE serves over 4,000 refugees and immigrants across our three sites in Boston and Lowell, Massachusetts, and Manchester, New Hampshire