Guide Released to Connect Immigrant Families to NYC Services

The de Blasio administration announced today the publication of a resource and referral guide specially created to connect recently-arrived immigrant children and their families to New York City government and nonprofit services. The guide is available in both English and Spanish at

The resource and referral guide provides information about health insurance and access to care, mental health clinics, school enrollment, food pantries, homelessness prevention, legal services, and more. It will be distributed widely for use by New York City agencies, schools, nonprofit organizations, and immigrant children and families who may benefit from receiving information and referrals to City services and non-governmental resources.

“Navigating New York City government’s vast offering of services can be intimidating for recently-arrived immigrant families,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We want families to access our local programs that are focused on making sure they become and remain strong and healthy, and have the information and tools they need to succeed. Children who come to our city escaping tragedy and despair should not be shortchanged, but rather embraced with stability and safety. New York City is stepping up the nation’s commitment to these children through this guide—along with the presence of our health and education representatives at Immigration Court and various other initiatives.”

“This guide represents the City’s firm and ongoing commitment to connecting recently arrived immigrant children and their families to the services that are available to them, regardless of immigration status,” said Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Nisha Agarwal. “This guide is an important outcome of the interagency taskforce the City formed in July, and is one more way we are helping to provide critical services to recently-arrived immigrants in need, including the large numbers of children fleeing violence in Central America.”

“There should never be any obstacle in the way of a child getting a great education—and not having documentation is no exception,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “This guide will help parents and sponsors as they navigate the school enrollment process and find programs and services that meet their child’s unique needs. The DOE will continue to share resources with principals to help them welcome immigrant children and their families, and we’ll provide targeted professional development opportunities for school-based teams. We must ensure that all children residing in New York City and neighboring counties have access to school enrollment information.”

“After traveling to the United States from their home countries, children and families are often in great need of basic human services, including health care,” said Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett. “While the federal government receives children at the border and provides health screenings and immunizations before they meet their sponsors, they will have medical or mental health needs once they arrive in New York City. The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs’ new resource and referral guide is an important tool to help ensure these children connect to the high quality health and social services for which they may be eligible. The City has also stationed key resources at the NYC-based Immigration Court, including health department staff that can help children and families navigate the variety of services.”

“The Department of Youth and Community Development is pleased to be a part of this comprehensive guide for our young people and their families,” said Youth and Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong. “From assistance with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to new opportunities in expanded afterschool, New York City is taking the lead in removing barriers faced by our thriving immigrant communities and connecting them to the wide array of services in our city.”

“Every family faces challenges,” said Children Services Commissioner Gladys Carrión. “The NYC Administration for Children’s Services provides support to help families grow stronger together and avoid crisis. We offer resources such as child care, counseling services and other free assistance in communities across the City, regardless of a family’s immigration status and language. We invite families to contact any of the sources listed in the referral guide under ACS for more information.”

“Connecting the recently arrived migrant children, and their families, to key City resources like housing, health care, nourishment and education will help to ensure a more fruitful transition into life in our local communities,” said Council Member and Chair of the Committee on Immigration Carlos Menchaca. “New York City continues to be committed to the well-being of our residents—including those whose immigration status has served to disenfranchise and disconnect them from government. I commend the administration for deploying this level of interagency coordination, and encourage them to continue to explore new and creative ways to meet these children where they are.”

“Connecting these youth and their families to educational resources is key to ensuring their successful integration into the life of our city,” said Council Member and Chair of the Committee on Education Daniel Dromm. “Having all the necessary information in one guide will facilitate access to a host of important services when they are most needed.”

Regardless of immigration status, all children in New York City have a right to enroll in school. The guide provides critical information about public school enrollment, support services for English Language Learners, literacy programs, and afterschool and community services. The guide also includes information about available education programs for adult immigrants who are interested in learning English or continuing their education.

The guide also directs families to legal service providers, healthcare clinics, immunization resources and mental health services, and includes information about the Department of Youth and Community Development after-school and community programs, a critical part of NYC’s holistic approach to addressing the needs of immigrant children and their families.

The Department of Youth and Community Development supports New York City youth and their families by funding a wide range of high-quality youth and community programs, including the Comprehensive After School System of NYC (COMPASS), Beacon community centers, Cornerstone Community Centers, Fatherhood Initiative, jobs and internships for youth, literacy programs for adults and adolescents, runaway and homeless youth services, summer youth employment programs, and immigrant services.

In September, the City placed representatives from DOE and DOHMH at the federal immigration court to directly address the needs of recently-arrived immigrant children undergoing accelerated deportation proceedings. ACS is also now based at the Immigration Court on a part-time basis to help children under five enroll in Head Start early childhood education programs.

In addition, MOIA, in coordination with DOE, DOHMH, ACS and the Human Resources Administration, is partnering with the New York Immigration Coalition, New York Legal Assistance Group, and the New York State Office of New Americans to run community-based youth assistance clinics across New York City. These community-based clinics will build on community-based events for immigrant children and families that were held over the past three months in Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn, and were staffed by City agencies and nonprofit organizations, to provide free legal consultations and information and referrals for health and education services available to immigrant children and families, regardless of immigration status.

The next clinics will take place in November in Brooklyn and Queens.

International High School at Prospect Heights
883 Classon Ave., Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
Wednesday, November 12, 3-7pm

DOE Pathways to Graduation
162-02 Hillside Avenue, Jamaica, Queens
Sunday, November 23, 9am-3pm

Originally posted by the Mayor’s Office