Help for Parents of Migrant Children

Grappling with Unexpected Struggles

The plight of migrant children took center stage in the summer of 2018 as a result of the federal government’s Zero Tolerance policy.

CV has been proud to care for migrant teenagers since 2004. Whether they come to our borders without guardians or are separated from them upon arrival, our goal is always to reunite migrant teenagers safely with family as quickly as possible.

But sometimes reunification is not easy. After the joy of being together again, parents often grapple with new, unexpected struggles. Some haven’t seen their children in years and have no idea how to parent. To help, we started offering workshops, support groups, and counseling in the community – open to all migrants. The program has been so successful that we will expand the number of sites from two to twelve in January.

One mother who comes to our workshops is Maria.* She left El Salvador 14 years ago, leaving her infant son and 3-year-old daughter in the care of her parents. Working two jobs in New York, she was able to send money home for their education and living expenses. When she could, she sent clothes and gifts. Her parents and her children depended on her. But it was hard living apart from her children.

When Maria’s mother passed away last year, she scraped up enough money to send for her children, who were now teens. Her son resents that she left him all those years ago and is acting out. Both children are struggling in school. Parenting teens is new to her, and she felt there was nowhere to turn for support. A friend told Maria about the program and, since then, she hasn’t missed a class.

“It’s the one time during the week that I feel I can breathe,” she says. “I can talk to other parents who know what I’ve been through and how I feel.”

There are many more parents like Maria who need our help, and The Children’s Village is grateful to be part of the solution.

Migrant parent workshops and support groups are funded by New York State’s Office for New Americans.

* Maria’s last name was withheld to protect her privacy.

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