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Families Belong Together
new report from the Office of the Inspector General reveals that the temporary detention center in Tornillo, Texas, which houses approximately 1,800 youth between the ages of 13 -17, has not been conducting the required FBI fingerprint background checks on its staff, and has not provided a “sufficient number of staff clinicians to provide adequate mental health care.”

Yet all potential sponsors and members of sponsor households are required to undergo this background check, which has resulted in arrests of more than three dozen potential sponsors and contributed to delays in connecting youth to U.S. sponsors.

new report shows the Trump administration’s family separation policy has already cost more than $80 million, and nearly 150 separated youth have not been reunified: “The parents of 30 of the children have been declared ‘ineligible’ for reunification based on their criminal histories, though immigrant advocates have argued that some parents were unfairly included based on old or minor convictions that would not affect their ability to safely care for their own children. The remaining 117 detained children all have parents who were deported without them.”

Susan Schmidt compares the administration’s treatment of migrant youth with standards set by the new Family First Act in her commentary “Trauma Inflicting, Not Trauma Informed: The US Federal Government’s Double-Standard Towards Migrant Children.”

Women and girls who have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border have been assaulted by U.S. Border Patrol agents after turning themselves in: “Critics say the very nature of Border Patrol agents’ work — dealing with vulnerable, powerless people, often alone on the nation’s little-traveled frontiers — makes it easy for troubled agents to go unnoticed.”

Advocates are seeking justice on behalf of Roxsana Hernández, a “transgender asylum seeker from Honduras who they say was abused before dying in federal immigration custody.”

“It’s causing a lot of families to just avoid any kind of government help.”
The Trump administration has proposed new regulations under which government officials would “ultimately be required to deny a green card and most other visas to anyone who they predict may, at any point in the future, receive supplementary forms of public assistance that have not previously been considered … The newly considered forms of assistance include Medicaid, Medicare Part D premium and cost-sharing subsidies, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and housing assistance.”

The proposed changes are already having a chilling effect for immigrant families on accessing critical supports and services. In Arizona, “families who use federally-qualified health centers are asking to be dropped from AHCCCS, SNAP and KidsCare.” In California, “not only are folks not signing up, but they’re proactively going to health centers and asking to be removed from these programs.” In Maryland, “legal immigrants have stopped using school programs, food subsidies, housing vouchers and health clinics for which they are eligible.” Enrollment in SNAP dropped by nearly ten percent among immigrant mothers of US-born children in 2018.

You can submit a public comment on the rule here by December 10.

A new study from the Center for the Study of Social Policy “examines the role of race in policies that separate families” including immigration, criminal justice, and child welfare policies, with a recommendation to “re-envision policy from the perspective of families.”

Juvenile Justice
At least four states have reported they will continue to collect data on racial and ethnic disparities in their juvenile justice systems, despite changes to data collection made by new OJJDP Administrator Caren Harp. During comments at a conference this month about the changes, Harp questioned it if was true that youth of color make up the majority of young people in the juvenile justice system. (It is.)

New OJJDP Title II funding agreements with states require to-be-determined collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security. [How is your state system responding? Let us know.]

A Denver Post analysis reveals disproportionate enforcement of the city’s juvenile curfew in predominantly Latinx neighborhoods and on Latinx holidays such as Cinco de Mayo. Latinx youth make up 67% of youth cited this year despite representing 41% of youth aged 15-17, and 30% of the city’s population overall.

In Tennessee, Shelby County will stop charging families of youth in detention for phone calls home. In Michigan, proposed legislation would stop the practice of automatically treating 17-year-olds as adults in criminal proceedings, raising the age to 18.

Eighteen-year-old Xocheezy talks about her experiences with housing instability and the juvenile justice system: “I told my probation officer I was sleeping in a car, but she told me to just find somewhere to rent… She didn’t even try to help me or my mom find housing.”

School Safety 
Betsy DeVos’ Title IX changes “significantly narrow what counts as sexual harassment;” only require schools to respond when sexual harassment “occurs within a school program or activity;” and hold “schools accountable only when they are ‘deliberately indifferent’ to sexual harassment.” Advocates are concerned about the impact on K-12 students: “Seven in 10 girls experience harassment before they leave high school.”

National Women’s Law Center says these changes “would make schools more dangerous for all students… schools would be encouraged, and even required, to be complicit in harassment and violence.” The proposed charges are open for public comment.

The Keeping All Students Safe Act would “make it illegal for any school receiving taxpayer dollars to seclude children…and limit the use of physical restraint to instances when it is necessary for the safety of students and teachers.”

The Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Education announced an audit of the department’s civil rights complaint dismissals in an effort to determine whether “the department’s civil rights division has been appropriately dismissing discrimination complaints in accordance with federal policies and procedures.”

Child Welfare
The number of youth in foster care hit a new high in 2017, continuing an increase that started in 2013, according to the annual report of the Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System. The continued rise “suggests a continuing increased reliance on adoption as a permanency goal. The number of finalized adoptions, youth waiting to be adopted and children whose parents’ rights were terminated all rose in 2017.”

Traci Dotson, a former foster youth and social welfare student, writes on the Kansas foster care system: “Not addressing the true challenges for at-risk youth and their families — such as poverty, trauma, lack of resources, mental health and substance abuse — causes children to be more likely to enter either foster care or the juvenile justice system, if not both.”

Kansas Appleseed has filed a class-action lawsuit over the state’s foster care system, claiming “children in Kansas foster care face extreme housing instability—sometimes moved more than 50 or 100 times—and are deprived of critical mental health assessments and services.”

An investigation by Huffington Post and the Hechinger Report explores the education available to foster youth in residential facilities: “It just felt like daycare… It was terrible. It wasn’t school.”


Scholarship for Sex Trafficking Survivors (Arizona Residents) – email Kimberly Hogan at the ASU Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research for more information.

Girls for Gender Equity is hiring a development manager

The Art of Yoga Project invites applications for a national affiliate pilot grantavailable to organizations interested in implementing Art of Yoga Project’s model. Applications due by January 15, 2019.

Florence Crittenton in Charleston, South Carolina is hiring a Residential Program Director





“I work four jobs and I’m a full-time student, taking care of a child … I feel like the system is made to make everyone fail.”

Source: Kassandra Montes in the Chronicle of Higher Education

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