Post-Release Services Report
Unaccompanied Children (UAC)
are child immigrants who enter the U.S. without the supervision of a parent or permanent caregiver. The number of UAC has increased dramatically in recent years. From 2011 to 2013 the number of UAC grew from 4,000 to over 21,000. In the first 5 months of 2014 alone, Border Patrol officials reported apprehending more than 60,000 unaccompanied children at the border.
The majority of UAC are from Central America, home to some of the highest poverty and violent crime rates in the Western hemisphere. There is a growing body of evidence that the primary reason why UACs are fleeing their homes is due to fear from violence and gangs (see links to recent reports below).
When they are apprehended at the U.S./Mexico border, a large percentage of UAC from Central America are placed with family members in the U.S. However, without legal permission to permanently live and work in the U.S., they remain in a social and legal limbo until they reach age 18 when those who have not regularized their legal status face deportation.
We released a report on UAC in 2015. Our study focuses on UAC who receive post-release services. It assesses the nature of these services and their importance for helping at-risk UAC adjust. Click on the full report below or the executive summary.
Several recent reports provide useful information about UAC, including why they come to the U.S. and what happens once they arrive:
Children on the Run
No Childhood Here
Forced from Home
The Flow of Unaccompanied Children