NYC Offers Help to Separated Children

The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs is coordinating a multi-agency effort to offer “critical services” to the 300 children who were separated from their parents and sent to NYC as part of the Trump “zero tolerance” policy. Services will include legal services, physical and mental health care, as well as increased security at day facilities and during transportation from intake centers to foster homes. Specialized NYPD patrols will provide the security.

City officials, including David A. Hansell, commissioner of the NYC Administration for Children’s Services, and MOIA General Counsel and Policy Director Sonia Lin, spoke at a briefing on Tuesday July 3 about the initiative. Although the separated children are here under the jurisdiction of the federal government and it is the federal government which holds contracts with the nonprofit agencies currently providing care for the children, city officials decided to offer a range of services nonetheless. The services will include training for foster parents and staffers at the day facilities where the children spend most of the day.

Said ACS Commissioner Hansell: “We’ve visited some of the facilities where these kids get services, and we’ve seen children who range in age from infants to teenagers. They’re resilient, but they’re also frightened, confused, and in some cases clearly traumatized. While these children are under the care and legal responsibility of the federal government, they are in New York City now and we are doing everything in our power to make sure they are safe and healthy.”

Mental health services will include on-site child and adolescent psychiatric consultation services to agency mental health staff caring for the children. Recreational and educational services will also be offered, from field trips to museums and zoos to toys, teddy bears, art supplies, soccer balls, and children’s books.

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