FAMILY SUPPORT SERVICES
At Catholic Guardian Services, we strive to help families in need and protect children at risk by reaching out to them before they are in the Child Welfare system. Our Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention services and other programs for families help struggling families find solutions to difficult circumstances and grow closer.
PARENTING RESOURCE CENTER
Navigating an unexpected pregnancy and raising children as a single mother in poverty are great challenges that many women face. Catholic Guardian Services has a long history of helping women in need and providing concrete support to mothers and children, as well as vital parenting education to ensure safer pregnancies, healthier infants and children, and stronger families.
At our Parenting Resource Center, young mothers have access to free parenting classes that teach them how to care for themselves during pregnancy, feed and care for a newborn, develop appropriate expectations of child development, adapt to the stresses of parenthood, and strengthen their families. We also provide pre- and post-natal care as well as counseling for women in crisis pregnancies.
Unaccompanied minors program
Catholic Guardian Services (CGS) provides shelter and care for unaccompanied children from Central and South American countries through a partnership with the Federal Office of Refugee Resettlement Program. The number of immigrants fleeing poverty and violence detained at the US southern border has skyrocketed in recent years, and more than 56,000 unaccompanied children have been held by US border patrol during the first half of 2019. Many of these minors are sent to the United States by their families to escape abuse in the form of human trafficking, gang violence, and forced labor, and most come from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
Catholic Guardian shelters many of these boys and girls in home-like residences in the Bronx, where we provide access to healthcare, education, and trauma-informed counseling services. Meanwhile, our bilingual case managers are fighting for family reunification as we partner with other agencies to provide our children with pro-bono legal representation.
The number of unaccompanied minors in Catholic Guardian’s care has been growing rapidly in recent years. At any given time, CGSprovides shelter to more than 100 unaccompanied children in our group shelters and transitional foster boarding homes. These children are typically placed in our care for 45-60 days during which we attempt to locate a “sponsor”–family members or close family friends in the U.S. with whom the children go to live–while the children await the final outcomes of legal proceedings involving their immigration status. Most children come into the country with the name and address of someone with whom they are trying to reunite, and CGS counselors are trained in interviewing techniques to determine if trafficking is an issue in each case.
As reported by local and national news agencies, thousands of immigrant children have been separated from their families and dispersed around the country. Many of these children were sent to New York and placed in temporary care while their parents were placed in federal custody. Our case managers and pro-bono legal counsels are working tirelessly to rectify these forced separations and reunite as many immigrant families in our care as possible.
Catholic Guardian Services is one of the agencies that are helping these children, by providing them with safe and supportive home-like settings where they can go to school, eat nutritious food, and receive clean clothes, medical care, and counseling.