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Unaccompanied Immigrant Minors and Child Protective Services Essay

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In the summer of 2010, I was assigned to work with a youth who became known to the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services (The Division) as a substantiated victim of child abuse (physical). Within the Division, the youth was assigned a case manager to handle legal aspects of the case and link him to services. I was specifically assigned to the youth to develop a therapeutic relationship and assist with his new adjustment, after being removed from his biological father and placed in foster care.
While working with the youth, he shared his story of how he came to the U.S. The youth, a 14 year-old a native of Honduras, reported that his father was already living in the U.S. and paid someone in Honduras to, “get him here”. The youth reported that it took him a month to get to the U.S. which included several days of being on a train and another several days of walking. The youth reported that he was eventually caught crossing the border in Texas and was sent to a dentition center in Florida.
Information remains unclear, however; the child was release to his father with legal issues pending with the Department of Homeland Security. The Division became involved with the Youth when he was disciplined by his father, who used a machete, which somehow nipped the Youth’s ear. The father has now fled the U.S. leaving the child in care and custody of the State with no intentions of reunification. This paper discusses how unaccompanied minors become involved with the legal/civil systems within the U.S. and challenges they face as a result.
It is important that we define, ‘unaccompanied minors’ to avoid confusion with minors domestically traveling alone. “Minors are typically defined as children and adolescents under the age of...


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... a legal and a psychological perspective. International Journal of Law & Psychiatry, 31(4), 319-330.
Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, . (n.d.). Unaccompanied minors. Retrieved from http://www.fiacfla.org/reports/rep.pdf
Gordan, Christine . (2005). Are unaccompanied alien children really getting a fair trial?. Denver Journal of International Law and Policy , 33(4), 641-673.
National Conference of State Legislatures, Initials. (2005, August 11). Unaccompanied immigrant and refugee minors. Retrieved from http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=13128
Nugent, Christopher. (2005). Protecting unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children in the united states. Retrieved from http://www.americanbar.org/publications/human_rights_magazine_home/irr_hr_winter05_immigrant.html
Roberts , Albert . (2009). Social workers' desk reference . New York, NY: Oxford University Press


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