Photo Courtesy of NYC Health + Hospitals
Several City agency heads announced the services last week.
By Forum Staff
City agencies are providing a range of specific services to help the estimated 300 children who were separated from their parents at the border and brought to the city under the federal government’s immigration policy, the de Blasio administration recently announced.
The support and services provided by the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, the Administration for Children’s Services, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, NYC Health + Hospitals, the Human Resources Administration, Department of Parks and Recreation, and Department of Cultural Affairs include:
• On-site child and adolescent psychiatric consultation services to agency mental health staff caring for the children
• Health care for children at public hospitals citywide, through expedited referrals and a 24-hour hotline
• Training for foster parents and staff at the nonprofit agencies working with children, on how to work with young people who have been through severe trauma, through in-person training sessions and online training that parents can take at home
• Legal assistance to connect children and their potential sponsors to legal service organizations
• Parenting coaching for teenage mothers who were separated from their adult mothers and are with infants they may need help and support to care for, through weekly group classes and one-on-one follow-up
• Toys and art supplies, including teddy bears, soccer balls, children’s books, and paint
• Weekly field trips to educational and cultural institutions in the city, including museums and zoos
• Increased security at day facilities and during transportation from intake centers to foster homes, through specialized NYPD patrols
The separated children are in NYC under the jurisdiction of the federal government, which contracts with nonprofit agencies to provide them with care, the City noted. Most of the separated children are living in foster homes around the five boroughs, and they receive education, recreation, and health care services in the daytime at the nonprofit agencies. The federal system is completely separate from the City’s child welfare system – but City officials said they are doing everything possible to ensure the children are being properly cared for while they are here.
“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,” said ACS Commissioner David Hansell. “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.”