Conference to Explore Trauma-Informed Care for Immigrant Children

Categories: Feature

Prince George’s County received the third-largest number of unaccompanied immigrant children in the country in 2017, and many others have arrived since. Thousands of youth from Central American now call the county home.

Because many immigrant and refugee youth are impacted by trauma, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, the Interfaith Coalition for Educational Equity, and Prince George’s County Public Schools are hosting a half-day conference about trauma for parents, teachers and public policy decision-makers.

“Trauma-Informed Care for Refugee and Immigrant Populations: Addressing the Needs of Youth, Families and Communities” will include a keynote presentation by Margarita Alegria, chief of the Disparities Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor at Harvard Medical School, as well as breakout sessions.

The conference will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12, at Northwestern High School, 7000 Adelphi Road, Hyattsville, Md.

Offered in both English and Spanish, the conference is designed for parents and caregivers, teachers and counselors, administrators, policy makers and faith leaders. Lunch will be provided, and child care is available for children ages 4-12.

To register for the free conference, click here.

According to a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees report, 48 percent of unaccompanied refugee children said they had experienced violence and 22 percent reported abuse at home or by caretakers. Many had their education interrupted and suffered from insomnia or nightmares.

“Trauma has a huge ramification on the future of immigrant children and youth, impairing their academic achievement and overall physical, mental and spiritual health,” says Father Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, of Catholic Charities’ parish community organizing and advocacy.

“We often do not realize that there are thousands of vulnerable immigrant and refugee children and youth profoundly impacted by trauma who now live in our communities and attend our public schools,” he says. “The October 12 conference is an opportunity to learn about the challenges they face and how each one of us can help create trauma-informed schools and communities to assist in collective healing.”