240 Greene Street
New York NY 10003
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New York, NY (March 1, 2016) – HealthRight’s Human Rights Clinic (HRC) was recently awarded a grant from the Harman Family Foundation to initiate a unique program to support unaccompanied migrant children (UMCs) in the New York metro area. With the surge in migrants fleeing violence and unrest in Central America, child migrants, especially unaccompanied children, are among the most rapidly growing and vulnerable immigrant population in the U.S. Many of these children are eligible for immigration relief and support, having experienced torture, persecution, trafficking, abuse and neglect in their home countries. Yet they often face significant barriers because of language, trauma, limited knowledge of their rights, and lack of access to the documents, records or available witnesses needed to document and corroborate their histories of abuse and neglect. Clinicians with child development expertise are in a unique position to identify and document evidence of a child’s experiences, corroborate a child’s story, and assist immigration authorities better understand the medical, psychological and developmental circumstances specific to the child seeking humanitarian protection. They are also able to identify and connect children with other needed treatment and support services. Yet few clinicians have been trained to provide these services.
To address this issue, HealthRight will recruit and train medical and mental health providers with pediatric and child development experience to provide child-friendly, trauma-informed forensic evaluations for UMCs throughout the NY metro area in support of their immigration applications. Clinicians will also be trained to screen children for other needs and refer to HealthRight’s HRC staff for additional support. “We are excited to address this important need in the New York area, and we are hopeful that we can expand these efforts in other areas of the country where unaccompanied children can benefit from forensic and follow-up care” said Lauren Pesso, who oversees HealthRight’s programs on Migrant Health, including the Human Rights Clinic.
About HealthRight’s Human Rights Clinic
HealthRight’s Human Rights Clinic (HRC) was established in 1993 the Bronx, NY, and currently provides forensic and follow-up case management services to immigrant survivors of torture and abuse in 12 locations around the U.S., including New York City. The HRC has trained more than 1,500 volunteer clinicians throughout the country, and assisted over 4,800 immigrant survivors of torture and other human rights abuses with forensic evaluations and follow-up support.
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