Thursday, June 22, 2017

Translation & Interpretation Resources

BRYCS often receives requests for translation and interpretation services of lesser known langauges, such as indigenous Maya languages. While we do not directly provide these services, we have compiled a list of organizations that we have used in the past. We hope you find this useful in your day to day work!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

School Enrollment FAQ

For migrant families, one of the greatest challenges in the U.S. can be enrolling children in school. Families may have trouble gathering the requested documentation, may be discouraged from enrolling due to language barriers or their child’s age, or may be denied enrollment if the primary caregiver is not the child’s parent or legal guardian.

It is important for all parties in the enrollment process to remember that:
  • School districts cannot ask about an individual’s immigration status, as it is unnecessary for establishing residency in a school district; rather, the school can require families to submit other documentation such as utility bills, lease agreements, or an affidavit;
  • School districts may not bar a student from enrolling simply because the individual lacks a birth certificate;
  • Providing a social security number is voluntary; and
  • In some cases, migrant children may be living with caregivers other than their parents or legal guardians. Seventeen states have consent laws which allow relative caregivers to enroll children in school. Other states do not have these laws but allow enrollment by caregivers. However, some school districts may ask for proof of guardianship or legal custody, which can have the effect of blocking a child from enrolling in school. In these situations, caregivers may work with schools to determine whether the school would accept an affidavit or other assurance of the relationship between the child and caregiver. Furthermore, some parents or legal guardians may have also executed a Power of Attorney giving these alternate caregivers specific and limited parental rights, which may facilitate the enrollment process.
For more information, please visit:

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Dating and Relationships

Dating and relationships is often a challenging topic to discuss with newcomers and can be a source of conflict in an immigrant family. Even something like high school dances/prom, that seem innocent, can be a very foreign concept for immigrant parents and a source of frustration for immigrant teens as they try to fit in. Does anyone have any simple resources they share with their newcomer parents AND/OR teens about dating and relationships in the U.S.? Thank you!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Translation tools for children

Hello, Recently, my child's elementary school enrolled Afghan and Syrian refugee students. The school is used to Spanish speakers but has not had to handle Arabic translations before this. To help the older students during classes, the school has given them tablets and they are using Google Translate. But there are younger students (6 and 8 year olds) that cannot use this type of simultaneous translation because it is too difficult for them to type that much or that fast. Does anyone know of a translation tool for younger kids to use in the classroom that is similar to Google Translate? Thank you!

-Concerned Parent

Friday, September 2, 2016

Creating Compassionate Schools: Supporting Unaccompanied Children

© Alvarez

What is it like for an unaccompanied, undocumented child to be apprehended at the border, reunified and transitioned into the public education system?

Thus far in fiscal year 2016 alone, 43,309 Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs) have been apprehended coming into the United States. The U.S government defines a UAC as a child who lacks immigration status, is under the age of 18, and who is present without a parent or legal guardian at the time of apprehension. Once apprehended by immigration officials or border patrol, children are placed in the care and custody of the Department of Health and Human Services; Office of Refugee Resettlement, Division of Children Services (ORR/DCS) until they are cleared to be released.

Reasons for Migration: Children migrate to the United States for many reasons including fleeing
community and gang violence and lack of educational and economic opportunities. Many cities in Central America have corrupt government, and run by local gangs (ex. MS 13, Mara 18). These gangs charge the local community and business a fee for their protection; which they have no option. and seeking family reunification. Many of these children’s parents left them in the care of grandparents and relatives so that they could migrate to the United States to be able to find employment and send remittances back home to support their children, in hopes to one day be able to send for their children to be reunited once again. For many of these children there have been a pro long separation of at times over 5-10 years since they last psychical seen their parents and or guardians. Now their caretakers are elderly and unable to care for them any longer requesting that the parents send for them.

Trauma: Can you image a child/youth traveling by foot, on top of a freight train from one country to another? That is the method of transportation that many of these children endure to flee situations of violence and insecurity and seek safety and family reunification in the United States. The journey can be traumatizing for anyone, not to mention a child. During the migration journey, many UAC often experience or witness horrendous acts of crime and violence include murder, rape, kidnapping, and extortion. Many children have to stay in the ORR facility for a prolonged period of time. Many of the children have prior mental health issues from prior history of trauma, abuse or neglect. Apprehension by immigration authorities and placement in an unfamiliar place can often further exacerbate trauma symptoms.

Post Release Services: Once these children are reunified if they are deemed to be eligible for post release services these are the services they are assisted with:
Photo courtesy of
  • School Enrollment
  • Pro-bono immigration legal services
  • Low-cost medical care
  • Access to mental health/counseling services
  • Assistance navigating community resources
  • Filing COA/COV
  • Post 18 Planning
  • Independent Living Skills 
Tips for Schools: 

  • Support students who have experienced adversity or live in crisis.
  • Provide an ongoing training, and professional development for ALL school staff with regards to this population and how to best meet their needs in the classroom. 
  • Provide a safe haven, and resources for students to be able to move from trauma to resilience. 
  • Find ways to partner with community and families to bring awareness and resources for this population. 
  • Promote awareness and introduce strategies that promote student/staff wellness. 
For more school related resources, visit: