The International Institute of New England provides unaccompanied minor children and their families reunifying support services in the United States. Many migrant families travel to the U.S. border together, but very often minors travel alone, separated from families members in their home countries and crossing the U.S. border seeking safety and reunification. Minors often travel 2,500 miles from El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras to the U.S. border fleeing life-threatening experiences of violence, deprivation and abuse. IINE works with children ages 2-18 who come to the U.S. to be safe and build a life that allows for study, work contribution, and peace.
Here are some key facts about how our locally-based program helps reunite separated families from Central America.
- IINE provides a local response to the ongoing and escalating family reunification crisis at the border.
- Separation of families at the border is a new and controversial tactic; for years the U.S. has funded providers such as IINE to support professional services for displaced and reunifying children in need of international protection.
- IINE works with Northern Triangle (Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala) families with children ages 2-18 who have migrated to the U.S. fleeing life-threatening experiences of violence, deprivation and abuse perpetrated mainly by organized armed criminal actors.
- IINE represents the best of U.S. federal programming that for years has funded family support and reunification support services.
- Many children crossing into the U.S. are already separated from their parents and are fleeing their native countries unaccompanied. IINE provides professional placement assessment to ensure safe reunification and follow up case management services delivered by licensed social workers who support children reunifying with caregivers.
- IINE services are limited only by funding. Federal funds do not fully cover even two IINE social workers who provide critical child and family focused support. We seek additional and sustainable private funding to join a recent gift from the Cabot Foundation and support our growing caseloads.
- IINE’s professional family reunification services includes home safety assessment and the post-release services of safety planning, connection to health care, connection to therapy and trauma resources, enrollment in school and referral to family support resources.