07.16.2018

Treehouse Response to Separating Immigrant and Refugee Children from Their Families

By Dawn Rains, Treehouse Chief Policy & Strategy Officer

Treehouse has a longstanding commitment to serving unaccompanied refugee and immigrant children who are in the United States without a parent. In early June, Treehouse was proud to join with 540 child-serving organizations from across the country in urging the Administration to abandon policies and practices that systematically separate children from their families at the border and to immediately reunify families.

At Treehouse, we believe that as individuals, as a community and as a nation, we have a special responsibility to our children in foster care—children for whom the state has stepped in become parent. We understand the impacts of trauma caused by removing children from their families and believe that it should only be done in order to ensure child safety.

While the policy has been suspended and a federal court has ordered reunification of children separated from their parents, we remain deeply concerned about the children languishing in detention and the significant and long-lasting consequences for their safety, health, development and well-being.

Treehouse also acknowledges the systematic separation of parents and children of color in our nation is nothing new, and this federal policy is yet another way that systemic racism is perpetuated. As we speak out against this policy, we remember that many Americans endure the long-term and generational trauma of racist policies that deny children the safety and care of their parents.

What Treehouse Is Doing

Treehouse continues to work with partner organizations across the state to ensure that we are meeting the needs of unaccompanied refugee children and youth currently in our programs and any additional youth that may be referred due to the current crisis.

Treehouse is serving as the backbone organization for a collective impact project with four state agencies and five statewide nonprofit organizations. The goal is to ensure children and youth experiencing foster care and homelessness statewide achieve educational equity with their peers. We have intentionally included refugee and immigrant children and youth in our scope, and are currently working to ensure they remain or become eligible for the educational and other essential supports they need to thrive and graduate.

You Can Take Action!

Join our Advocacy Action Center to stay up-to-date on issues impacting children and youth in foster care, including immigrant and refugee children.  Contact your members of Congress to urge them to:

  • Ensure the immediate reunification of children with their families.
  • Ensure a permanent end to the “zero tolerance” policy
  • End violations of human and civil rights at the border and in detention.
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About the Author

As Chief Policy & Strategy Officer, Dawn Rains leads long-term strategy and policy advocacy for Treehouse. She has more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit management and fund development.


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