Advocacy Campaigns,Announcements / January 2016

USCRI Testifies At Senate Hearing on Unaccompanied Children

Tiffany Nelms shaking the hand of Senator McCaskill ranking member of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations

On January 28, 2016 USCRI’s Associate Director of Unaccompanied Children’s Services, Tiffany Nelms, testified at a Senate hearing “Adequacy of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Efforts to Protect Unaccompanied Alien Children from Human Trafficking.” The Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations held the hearing
to examine potential deficiencies in the procedures used by the Department of Health and Human Services to safely place unaccompanied alien children with sponsors in the U.S.  The Subcommittee also released report on this issue.

USCRI was asked to testify because we understand the needs of these children because we have the oldest pro bono legal network dedicated to serving unaccompanied children and are a provider of Home Study (HS) and Post Release Services (PRS).  To date, we have made a difference in the lives of over 10,000 unaccompanied immigrant children.

IMG_0751Ms. Nelms told the Senate about the importance of recognizing the exceptional vulnerabilities of children who are living in our country, do not speak English and do not understand their rights, therefore making them highly susceptible to neglect, abuse or exploitation.  Ms. Nelms made the following recommendations to the Subcommittee:

  • Make post release services available to every unaccompanied immigrant child.
  • Expand resources for post release service providers so children are reunited with family in a timely and safe way, and able to access the education and medical and mental health care that all children deserve.
  • Streamline reunification processes in consultation with national post release service providers.

For more information, please refer to USCRI’s written testimony and recommendations (available here).  A video of the hearing is available on the Subcommittee’s website; Ms. Nelms begins her testimony at 2:12:53.


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