Four strategies to improve community services for unaccompanied children in the United States

Providing a roadmap for transforming the post-release landscape.

New York. A girl braids her sister's hair.
UNICEF/UN0373315/Murphy/Principle Pictures


When unaccompanied migrant children leave US federal custody to reunify with a parent or other sponsor, the transition into US communities can be difficult. Local governments, post-release service providers, and other organizations offer a range of services to support children as they navigate their reunion with family, immigration proceedings, and a new culture. However, the service infrastructure and accessibility varies from community to community. Too often, unaccompanied children’s needs are inadequately addressed, negatively affecting their well-being and longer-term development. 

A new issue brief co-authored by UNICEF and the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), ‘Four Strategies to Improve Services for Unaccompanied Children in the United States’, provides a roadmap for transforming the post-release landscape from a patchwork of limited supports into a well-coordinated, whole-of-community service delivery system. Taking these steps will better position unaccompanied children to thrive and allow the communities they join to benefit from their skills, creativity, contributions, and diverse perspectives. 

Four Strategies to Improve Community Services cover shot
UNICEF and Migration Policy Institute
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