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Anticipating and Responding to the Social Services Needs of UICs

By Hayley Upshaw1

Legal services providers representing UICs are often a primary point of contact for children with social services needs (including housing, healthcare and education) that fall outside the purview of immigration representation.  

While important, a child’s immigration case may not be the top priority for the child or her family if substantial social services needs are unmet. And because a child’s overall health and well-being can have a significant impact on the legal case, attorneys working with UICs should look at the child’s needs holistically and make appropriate referrals or provide support in-house when possible.

Some of the most common social services needs facing UICs include: enrolling in school, locating and receiving mental health care, finding affordable health care, and working through challenges with their caregivers, among others. Finally, a child also may be affected by a caretaker’s social services needs, which may affect the caretaker’s ability to care for the child and may impact representation.

Legal representatives who want to help their child client address these social services needs may not know how to identify and/or resolve these issues. Legal service providers generally address these needs by either referring clients to outside organizations or developing internal organizational capacity to address non-legal issues.

Considering the limited number of service providers available in a given area, providers who seek to refer clients should establish relationships with social services agencies and cultivate relationships with other organizations that can help UICs.   

Some providers have had great success hiring social workers to provide more intensive case management to clients and help address the mental health needs of children and families so that the children can better participate in their legal cases. Social workers on staff help cultivate relationships with social services agencies, improve referrals, provide trauma-informed services to the individual clients, and help attorneys understand clients’ mental health needs and how they may impact the clients’ legal cases.

Practitioners have identified five common social services areas in which clients often have unmet needs:

  • Education
  • Mental Health
  • Healthcare
  • Child Welfare
  • Working with caregivers

While it is a best practice to be aware of the social services issues presented by child clients, legal providers must also practice self-care and set boundaries with clients. Attempting to solve every non-legal problem for a client can result in provider burnout and create unrealistic expectations or dependency for the client. Legal education provides little training in setting attorney-client boundaries, and social workers may be better trained to set such boundaries to protect themselves, legal providers, and clients.


Education is often one of the first issues that clients must address after release from federal custody. Some youth may have come to the United States for educational opportunities and may be excited to attend school. Others, many of whom feel obligated to pay off debt or who support their families or help defray costs in their sponsor’s home, may not view education as a priority.

I. Challenges for Youth

A. Many school districts require certain documentation for enrollment. Required documentation often includes proof of age, identity (e.g., a birth certificate), immunizations, and educational records. Enrollment for children may be delayed if they do not have the required documentation.

B. Older youth (age 16 or 17) may be unable to complete high school by the required age and may not be allowed to enroll in school or may be pushed into alternative educational programs like continuation schools, GED programs, adult education, or ESL classes, rather than being enrolled in comprehensive public education.

C. Immigrant children enrolled in school may have challenges understanding the material or participating in their education due to limited language or prior education, disabilities, or an absence of subject matter expertise and a lack of understanding about U.S. school norms and expectations.

D. It may be difficult for a child to manage the stress of different messages regarding their education and then to make informed decisions about choosing to work or study. UICs may feel pressure from sponsors to work and defray the cost of supporting them. Yet the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) also tells sponsors and UICs that the children must be enrolled in school upon their release from federal custody. It is not unusual for immigration judges to question children about their enrollment status. If a judge tells a child to enroll in school but she is unable to because of work obligations, she may be reluctant to return to court because of potential conflicts.

II. Challenges for Providers. Education law is complicated and providers serving UICs may lack the resources to pursue educational claims on behalf of their clients.

A. Failure to maintain school attendance may prejudice the child before the immigration court and leave her more vulnerable to other problems. School attendance is a way for an institution to track a child’s well-being.

  1. Although not required for most forms of immigration relief, an immigration judge may view school attendance favorably in the exercise of the court’s discretion.
  2. If a child does not attend school, a judge may inquire into how the child spends the day. The child might respond with activities the judge deems unfit for the child. Some judges will pressure the child to attend school.
  3. School non-attendance may have an impact on discretionary matters such as the length of continuances and if a child is required to be present for the hearing rather than have their appearance waived.

B. Students and their caregivers may need assistance requesting a school assessment to access educational benefits and protections. Special education laws, however, can raise ethical issues for attorneys as the child’s special education rights are held by the child’s parent or legal guardian, who may want something different than the child.

III. Best Practices & Resources

A. Enrollment

1. If a child is not allowed to enroll immediately due to a school’s or district’s enrollment policies, consider if the policy is permissible. All students, regardless of immigration status, have the right to attend school.

2. If a school or district is violating these policies, consider writing a “demand letter” to the school district’s general counsel incorporating some of the U.S. Department of Education fact sheets and guidance. Also, attorneys should consider filing a complaint with the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights or with the U.S. Department of Justice.

3. If the enrollment policies are acceptable and the client does not have the documentation, consider assisting the client in obtaining these records:

  • Vaccination Records from ORR:

    Children can request their immunization records from ORR.

    Healthcare providers (including school clinics) can submit a request directly to ORR for a child’s vaccination records, with the child’s or guardian’s authorization and following the instructions in the link above. They should receive a response from ORR within 30 minutes.
  • Request copy of Birth Certificate from ORR

    If a child’s ORR file contains a copy of their birth certificate, they can obtain this copy by making an ORR records request.

    Though it generally takes several months to receive an ORR file, attorneys who only need the birth certificate can consider filing an urgent, limited scope request to expedite the process.

4.  Many UIC clients technically meet the definition of “homeless” under the McKinney Vento Act and should be allowed to enroll without documentation. Attorneys can determine if their client meets this definition, and if so, contact the district’s homeless child liaison to help with enrollment.

  • “Homeless” is defined as an individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, and includes:

unaccompanied children not in the physical custody of a parent or legal guardian

children in families who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason

migratory children

  • Youth who qualify as homeless under McKinney Vento must be allowed to immediately enroll in school, even if the youth is unable to produce the records normally required for enrollment. Youth who are homeless are also eligible for other support including school transportation.

5. For children denied enrollment in comprehensive public schools or who are directed into alternative educational programs because of their age, consider if that is permissible.

  • Age requirements vary by state:

What are the ages for compulsory education?

- Is there an age at which a child is no longer eligible to enroll in public school?

  • See the following resources to determine compulsory school attendance laws by state, as well as minimum and maximum age limits for required free education in 2015:

National Center for Education Statistics

Education Commission of the States

  • Some schools or districts may require proof that a child has enough credits to meet graduation requirements by a maximum age. Practitioners should consider if the child has any credits from any time in ORR custody, which could be applicable.

B. Understanding and participating in educational program once enrolled

  1. Public schools must ensure that English learner students can participate meaningfully and equally in educational programs.
  2. Caregivers should be contacted within 30 days of a school identifying a child as limited English proficient. The school should provide the caregiver with information about programs and services to meet the child’s educational needs. For more information see factsheets in English and Spanish from the Department of Justice and Department of Education.
  3. Identify and partner with schools that serve immigrant youth or encourage the district to build capacity to serve these youth, including advocating for funding for services.

Caminos, San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD): In response to the 2014 humanitarian crisis of increased refugee minors from Mexico and Central America, SFUSD launched Caminos, with a first year mission to increase access to education for Latino newcomer students and families through advocacy, community building, and the coordination of support services.

Unaccompanied Minor Service Specialist at Oakland Unified School District (OUSD): The OUSD specialist supports minors’ enrollment in OUSD educational programs and helps minors access critical support services inside and outside the District. The specialist also collaborates closely with school sites, community-based organizations, service providers, and unaccompanied minors and their families.

C. Special education

  1. Children with disabilities are entitled to special educational protections under the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act (IDEA). To access those benefits and protections, children must first be identified as having a disability. Children should be assessed if they demonstrate signs of havinga disability. If the child struggles in school, teachers and other providers may assume the child lacks language fluency or that her education was interrupted rather than screening the child for a disability.
  2. Special education rights are held by the child’s parent or legal guardian until the child turns 18. Caregivers of child clients who are not living with a parent and have not established a legal guardianship may qualify as a parent under IDEA if they are “an individual acting in the place of a biological or adoptive parent (including a grandparent, stepparent, or other relative) with whom the child lives, or an individual who is legally responsible for the child’s welfare.” 34 CFR § 300.30. If the child does not have anyone who can serve as the parent or legal guardian for special education needs, the child can request that the district appoint a “surrogate parent” to advocate for special education protections.
  • If a client struggles inschool and the caregiver and child want to request an assessment, encourage them to submit a written request for an evaluation to the school. The parent, legal guardian, or caregiver should outline areas of concern about the child’s ability and request an “evaluation” or “assessment.” This will trigger strict timelines for the district to respond and develop an assessment plan.
  • If an attorney is concerned that a child client is not being properly evaluated or provided with special education services, she can consider contacting some of these service providers:

The Center for Parent Information and Resources maintains information for parents of children with disabilities in English and Spanish.

Each state has a protection & advocacy system, which provides services and support for people with disabilities, including support around special education issues.

Although it may not be their primary area of focus, ORR-appointed child advocates can sometimes work with school administrators to seek assessments of children with disabilities and could be an additional resource for UIC clients.

D. School and immigration court

  1. Retain a child’s school certificates and documentation when possible because some judges take note of attendance records and may inquire about truancy and how it might affect the resolution of the case. When collaborating with teachers or tutors, help them understand the importance of documenting a child’s participation and progress in all classes and activities.
  2. Educate immigration judges about the negative impact of questioning a child about school without contextualizing the child’s decision of whether to attend school or work.
  3. Communicate clearly to clients the importance of going to immigration court when required, even if it means missing school.
  • If a child’s application is pending with USCIS, consider filing motions to continue or administratively close cases in advance of a hearing rather than waiting to appear in person to avoid the child’s absence from school.
  • Request that a child’s appearance be waived at future master calendar hearings so that the child does not miss school.
  • If the child must miss school to attend court, consider preparing a letter for the school so that her absence is excused.

E. Children who do not want to attend school

  1. Acknowledge the child’s desire or need to work rather than attend school.
  2. Consider referrals to vocational, GED, or ESL programs that a client may be able to attend part-time while working.

Mental Health

Many UIC clients have experienced traumatic events in their home countries or during their migration. Many may face additional stressors including:

  • Fear of return to their home country
  • Challenges reunifying with estranged family or sponsors
  • Immigration court process
  • Acclimating in the United States
  • Concerns about siblings or other family members left behind
  • Pressures from family relating to migration debt or a sense of obligation to work and send money back to their family
  • Living in unsafe situations or with victims of abuse once they are released to a sponsor

All or some of these factors may cause a child significant distress that may become a mental health issue, such as depression, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or anxiety, which may affect the way the child interacts with providers and the ability to participate in the legal case. UIC providers should use trauma-informed techniques (see Best Practices, below).

I. Challenges

Children who suffer from PTSD, complex trauma, or other mental health issues may exhibit behaviors which pose particular challenges for service providers, including but not limited to:

  • Avoidance: children may avoid meetings with their attorney and other professionals because discussing their case is too difficult
  • Difficulty remembering events
  • Non-linear narrative;
  • Risk of becoming “triggered” during meetings
  • Difficulty establishing a trusting attorney/client relationship

A. Providers often have insufficient training to assess mental health and may not know when to seek help for clients or refer them.

B. Clients or caregivers may feel a stigma attached to mental health service and may choose not to pursue referrals or requests for evaluations for fear of being labeled “crazy” or incompetent.

C. Mental health diagnoses may impact the legal case, and depending on the diagnoses and risk of harm, may trigger inadmissibility grounds under INA § 212(a​)(​2)(A)(iii)​.​

D. Tensions may arise when the attorney needs information about traumatic events but the social worker or other mental health provider objects because it is therapeutically inappropriate.

E. Even if staff identifies a client with mental health needs, often there are issues finding adequate, affordable resources to help them.

  1. Geography: It is difficult to find resources in geographically large service areas, especially rural communities.
  2. Cost: Not all areas have extensive access to pro bono or low cost services.
  3. Specific needs of client: even with free or low-cost services, it may be difficult to find a provider to match the client’s needs (language, gender, etc.)

F. Staff mental health or burn out can affect ability to effectively work with clients.

II. Best Practices & Resources

A. Train all staff to use trauma-informed interviewing techniques with clients.
See Talia Kraemer and Eliza Patten, Establishing a Trauma-Informed Lawyer-Client Relationship, ABA Child Law Practice, Vol. 33, No. 10 (Oct 2014)

1. Before the interview:

  • To the extent possible,avoid having children repeat traumatic information. If a colleague (e.g. intake worker, legal assistant, prior provider) has completed a legal screening, review that information before meeting with the client.
  • Obtain a copy of any legal screening conducted while the child was in custody and use as a baseline.
  • Be transparent with the client about what information you have and how you received it; transparency helps create a trusting relationship.
  • Review information with the client and allow her to explain/clarify/change information.

2. During the interview:

  • Beginning the interview:

Define your role; make sure the client understands your role and what you can and cannot do to help her.

Explain the reason for meeting and any information you may seek from the child in advance so the child is prepared for the meeting.

Review confidentiality guidelines and any limits to confidentiality (for example, mandated reporting laws where applicable).

  • General guidelines:

Hold frequent, shorter meetings rather than one long meeting.

Respect the client’s time and her need to take breaks and/or end the meeting.

Talk with the client about her role, and let her know that if she doesn’t want to talk about a certain topic, she should say that rather than make something up or say she does not know. If the client does not want to talk about a topic you can inquire about returning to it at a future meeting.

Check in with child regularly throughout the interview – see how she is feeling and if she needs a break or wants to stop for the day (if possible).

Be non-judgmental.

Ask primarily open-ended questions so that the child can elaborate in her own words.

Mirror the language used by the client when asking clarifying questions. For example, if the client says a parent “punished” her with a beating, mirror that language: “how often did your parent punish you that way?” and not, “how often did your parent abuse you?”

3. Post interview:

  • Review next steps

Discuss what needs to be done, who needs to do it, and by when.

If the child needs to do something, consider writing it down along with the timeframe/deadline. A child client should not be given more than three age-appropriate tasks to complete

Ask the child to repeat her understanding of next steps; if the child did not understand, affirm that it can be a confusing process and that is why you want to review it again. Try to explain next steps in another way.

  • Ask the child if she has questions
  • Check in about the child’s emotional state

If the interview has touched on challenging topics, acknowledge that.

Ask what the child will do after the interview. Brainstorm with the child certain activities she can pursue, or ask if she has a supportive person she can see.

If the child has a therapist or mental health provider, ask about her next appointment and if you can talk with that professional to explain your meeting/interview. Tell your client that it’s normal to have different feelings after discussing traumatic events.

  • Refer the client to other service providers when appropriate.

B. Assess competency and capacity

  1. For an in-depth discussion about best practices and decision-making tools for assessing mental competency and capacity, see the 2014 practice advisory by Aryah Somers: Children in Immigration Proceedings: Concepts of Capacity and Mental Competency.
  2. If competency is an issue, clients may receive a competency hearing and evaluation, and if found incompetent could be appointed counsel based on the Franco-Gonzalez v. Holder class action. See the Department of Justice’s announcement.
  3. With the client’s permission, providers may request the client’s ORR file to review if any mental health evaluations or psychological examinations were conducted while the child was in ORR custody To expedite this process, mark the request as urgent, and/or request that the file be provided electronically. The ORR file can also contain other medical or healthcare information, which may be helpful. See ORR policies and procedures.

C. For a child experiencing temporary or long-term mental distress:

1. Discuss with the child that this is a normal reaction and encourage child to go into therapy.

  • Children may be more willing to see a therapist if this is discussed as potentially beneficial to the legal case.
  • Explain that therapy is a safe place where the child can discuss how she is feeling and talk about many topics, not only her trauma.

2. Provide referrals to address mental health needs.

  • Explore opportunities for working with schools of social work or therapy training institutes that have field placements or opportunities for students to earn clinical hours.
  • Partner with other local non-profit organizations that provide mental health services.
  • In case of crises or when working with clients who live in rural areas where access to linguistically appropriate mental health services is difficult to find, keep a list of crisis hotlines for clients.
  • Consider referring the UIC for a child advocate if the child has significant mental health needs.


UICs may need healthcare for preventive, acute, or reproductive needs.

I. Challenges

A. Access to affordable, general, or specialized healthcare coverage as well as specific reproductive health care.

B. Restrictions on certain providers regarding reproductive health information that they can give to UICs.

C. Consent for specialized treatments, such as reproductive healthcare, that a UIC client may not want to discuss with her parent or legal guardian.

D. Legal service providers’ comfort discussing medical issues and knowledge of appropriate referrals.

E. Limited post-release services available to UICs.

II. Best Practices & Resources

A. Engage social workers to navigate, manage, and advise on healthcare issues and resources.

1. Encouragepartnerships between attorneys and social workers through schools of law and of social work.

2. Consider hiring a professional with a combined JD/MSW degree.

B. UICs can receive emergency medical care through Emergency Medicaid. What constitutes an emergency is defined by state law. A detailed description of emergency Medicaid and a state-by-state chart is available from Legal Momentum.

C. Some UICs may be eligible for Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). See National Immigration Law Center’s “Facts About Federal Funding for States to Provide Health Coverage to Immigrant Children and Pregnant Women.”. Eligible UICs may include:

1. Traffickingvictims. In some states such as California, UICs can receive full scope Medicaid even before receiving certification as a victim of trafficking or being approved for a T visa as long as they can present proof that they have filed, or are preparing to file, a T visa. A statement by the applicant regarding her intent to apply can suffice.

2. U visa applicants. UICs who have applied for a U visa as a principal or derivative or may be eligible for full scope Medicaid with the receipt notice.

3. Asylees

4. Applicants for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

D. Some states provide medical assistance to additional categories of immigrants.

1. See the National Immigration Law Center’s guide, “Medical Assistance Programs for Immigrants in Various States

2. For a definition of “lawfully residing” for the purpose of Medicaid and CHIP coverage of children and pregnant women, see a letter from Cindy Mann, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), to state health officials, Re: Medicaid and CHIP Coverage of “Lawfully Residing” Children and Pregnant Women (July 1, 2010).

3. See also CMS letter to state health officials, Re: Individuals with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Aug. 28, 2012).

E. If a UIC client does not qualify for healthcare coverage, other options include:

1. Community Health Centers. Many independent clinics provide high quality preventive and primary healthcare regardless of status or ability to pay. See

2. State-based health programs.Afew states, like California, make a number of health programs available to low-income residents.

3. Student health plans.Many colleges and universities require students either to buy their school's health insurance policy or show proof of coverage. Immigration status is generally not questioned when students apply for the affordable plans.

4. School-based health centers.Many elementary, middle and high schools have campus clinics that provide basic healthcare as well as services such as mental healthcare.

F. Reproductive Health

1. Consider making condoms available where clients can access them discreetly (like the bathroom). Do not assume that clients know how to use condoms; include directions provided in the box with the condoms. Provide literature about family planning and healthcare in common areas.

2. UICs may be able to obtain reproductive healthcare without the consent of a parent or guardian.

  • Comprehensive information about teens’ reproductive rights in California, including a Minor Consent and Confidentiality Chart and Minor's Right to Leave School for Confidential Service, is available from Teen Health Law.
  • Teen Health Law also has links to information about resources in other states.

Child Welfare

Some UICs may come into contact with local child welfare agencies because of abuse, neglect, or abandonment by their parents or sponsor following release from ORR custody. Practitioners have noted that some UICs who reunify with their parents, especially as teenagers, struggle during the reunification process. An initial “honeymoon period” may be followed by challenges to the relationship, such as the child’s feelings of resentment for having been left behind in the home country, especially if she was victimized there. Sometimes parents have new partners (and children) whom the child must get to know and who may make the child feel like an outsider. Some teenagers who have assumed adult responsibilities such as working to provide for the family or caring for younger siblings, or who have been left unsupervised for much of their youth, may challenge limits set by the parent or sponsor and may struggle to adapt to new curfews, expectations, and school. Sometimes these relationships with parents or sponsors deteriorate and children may be abused, neglected, or abandoned, raising the question of who has responsibility for the child.

Involvement with the child welfare agency may provide some supports for the child including a foster home placement, access to healthcare and other basic needs, and case management. However, those supports come at a cost to the child’s independence as the child undergoes juvenile court oversight. Many issues can occur with placements chosen by the child welfare agency, including lack of cultural fit, removal of the child from her community, too much structure (or independence) for the child’s needs, etc.

I.            Challenges

A. There can be a lack of understanding on the part of local child welfare agencies and juvenile/dependency court judges about their role with UICs. Staff at the child welfare agency may assume that if ORR released a child to a sponsor, ORR or the federal government will continue to oversee and support the child’s placement. State court judges may think that they lack jurisdiction to make placement decisions about a child because the child was previously in custody and was released to a sponsor or because the child is before immigration court.

B. Staff at child welfare agencies may fail to respond to reports of a caretaker’s abuse, abandonment, and/or neglect, especially for children who are close to their 18th birthday. Also, agencies may seek informal arrangements, like placing a child at a homeless shelter or encouraging her to stay with friends or family, rather than formally bringing the child into state care by bringing the case before the juvenile court.

C. Issues arise in the few states where attorneys are mandated reporters, as it may be difficult to form a trusting relationship with a child while trying to help her understand that there is some information – if shared with her attorney – that may lead to removal from her home.

D. ORR expects sponsors to take over responsibility for the child’s care, but provides very limited support to families.

II. Best Practices

A. Coordinate with child welfare experts in the community to understand the local child welfare system and any alternatives for children unable to continue living safely with their sponsors.

B. Educate juvenile and family courts about the role of ORR and the immigration court so that they understand their jurisdiction in these cases.

C. If a UIC client’s sponsorship becomes unavailable and the client does not have a safe place to live, counsel her about different options, which may include:

  1. A family member, family friend, a friend’s family, someone from a faith community, etc. Help her think about whom she would feel comfortable living with and who would be willing to care for her.
  2. The child welfare system. Explain what engaging in the child welfare system would look like, including advantages (housing, services, support, possible avenue for pursuing SIJS or U visa, possible support beyond age 18) as well as disadvantages (more oversight by multiple adults, lack of control over placement, possible consequences for the parent or caregiver).
  • For information about how a child may seek the protection of child welfare agencies and/or file reports detailing abuse, neglect or abandonment and the child’s need for support, see the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Child Welfare Information Gateway.
  • If child welfare agencies are reluctant to take a case, develop relationships with child welfare staff to facilitate referrals and to educate staff regarding UICs generally and a client’s needs in particular. Talk with child welfare attorneys to see if the state allows private actors to file child welfare cases or if there is any way to review a child welfare agency’s decision not to open a case of suspected abuse, abandonment, or neglect.

Some states allow individuals to petition the juvenile court directly to request that a child be taken into state care.

Some states allow individuals to seek judicial overview of a child welfare agency’s decision not to bring a child’s case before the juvenile court. See, for example, California Welfare and Institutions Code Sections 329 and 331, which provide this opportunity for children residing in California.

  • In cases in which the sponsor is threatening to send the child back to her home country against the child’s wishes, seek appointment of a Trafficking Victim’s Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) child advocate. Additionally, if the child welfare agency plans to repatriate a child against the child or parent(s) wishes, seek appointment of a TVPRA child advocate. For more information about child advocate referrals, see The Young Center.

Social Services Needs of Caretakers

I.            Challenges

A. Addressing the reality that families and sponsors supporting UICs often lack access to social services to provide a stable living environment.

B. Confidentiality and information-sharing between parties can sometimes raise ethical dilemmas.

C. Contending with the stress of caretakers who are living in the United States without lawful immigration status and who may see any court involvement (such as seeking a legal guardianship) as personally threatening.

D. Caregivers may disagree regarding the importance of gaining legal status, especially if they have lived in the United States undocumented without any issue.

II. Best Practices

A. Be clear about professional boundaries and loyalties, but provide social services referrals and support to caregivers, as these supports often will help a client by making the caregiver more prepared to care for her.

B. Develop and maintain a community resources list for caretakers or identify other good referral services.

  1. In New York City, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs created a manual for caretakers of immigrant children. A similar compilation of local resources could be replicated by other city governments or legal service providers. Such a resource is not complicated to develop, and could easily be compiled as an intern project. Once developed, it could be shared widely to give caregivers access to information on how to best support UICs in their care.
  2. In the San Francisco Bay Area, nonprofit One Degree began providing a web platform to help individuals and organizations find, manage, and share their experiences with community resources such as food banks, employment services, shelters, health clinics, and more.

C. Propose parent care/support groups for caregivers, working with faith- or community-based organizations with experience supporting and connecting similar populations through family fun days, picnics, etc.

D. Partner with faith-based organizations that can facilitate caregiver support groups. For instance, San Francisco’s Good Samaritan Family Resource Center provides a range of support services, including education and family strengthening programs, to low-income Latino families.

E. If a community lacks services, consider advocating for more services with local government by highlighting the needs, and consider strategic use of media coverage. In Northern California, the Association of Bay Area Governments is writing a report about the services available in different counties, and recommendations to local governments on how best to use limited resources to address unmet needs.

Anchor1. Hayley Upshaw is a senior staff attorney at Legal Services for Children (LSC). This chapter was prepared with help and feedback from her colleagues at LSC, Erin Maxwell, MSW, Ron Gutierrez, LCSW, and Rumeli Snyder, LCSW.


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