Every child—regardless of race, religion, or country of origin—deserves a safe and loving home. Since 2011, the United States has seen a growing number of children flee to the U.S. without any parent accompanying them. These children, primarily from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, are often fleeing gang violence, trafficking, threats, and extortion, as well as abuse, domestic violence, and poverty. Many are seeking to be reunified with family in the United States.
Our mission compels us to embrace and protect these vulnerable children—at our borders and in our communities. In 2016, LIRS partners served more than 26,000 children and their families.
LIRS is the only organization in the country that walks alongside unaccompanied children throughout their entire journey in the United States. We work with network partners across the country to provide a full continuum of federal services for vulnerable youth, from foster care to family reunification – and we offer a wide range of services to support the health and well-being of children once they’ve settled into their new family.
In partnership with community-based child welfare and refugee organizations, LIRS provides long-term foster care for refugee children and other unaccompanied migrant children who obtain legal status. LIRS also provides both short-term family and group foster care for recently arrived migrant children.
Through our family reunification programming, LIRS provides assistance and support for a child’s safe release to caregivers by conducting necessary background checks, ensuring the appropriate documentation is collected and providing families with a connection to services. This crucial facet of our programming prevents the trafficking of children within our borders and ensures that children are placed in safe, loving homes with family members who are equipped to care for them.