Imagine for a moment that you’re a child separated from your family, in a completely new country, surrounded by people who are speaking a language you can’t understand. At LIRS, we see the courage and resilience of children who are faced with this situation every day — and we work diligently to protect these children and reunite them with loved ones as quickly as possible.
Through our network of trusted community partners, LIRS provides assistance to the U.S. government to identify family members in the country and ensure that children in our care are safely released to loved ones who are well-equipped to care for them. After families have been reunified, we provide extended support to particularly vulnerable families as they adjust to life together and navigate the immigration system.
Safe Release Support
Safe Release Support staff are dedicated to the protection of migrant children. Through support from the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the LIRS network screens potential caregivers through a comprehensive process including fingerprinting for background checks, conducting a home study, and interviewing both the child and the potential sponsor. The interviews help us determine the sponsor’s motivation for sponsoring the child, the wishes of the parent, the child’s wishes, the sponsor’s understanding of the child’s needs, as well as any risk factors or special concerns the child–or LIRS child welfare specialists–might have.
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. From there, they work with guardians to identify their needs and connect them with necessary services, such as pro bono legal counsel, English language classes, job training, and health care.
Home Study and Post-Release Support
For particularly vulnerable unaccompanied children, LIRS offers community-based case management services. Our Home Study and Post-Release Services program includes services such as connecting families to community resources and empowering families with the resources and knowledge they need to make informed decisions about schooling, legal representation, health care, and recreational and religious services.