The Casa Libre/Freedom House currently offers a transitional living program for immigrant unaccompanied minors released to the program from Federal custody and homeless unaccompanied minors in Los Angeles county. The program's expertise lies in the provision of shelter, social, educational, medical and legal services for homeless and detained unaccompanied minor immigrant children, who have often been abused, abandoned, or neglected in their home countries and traveled to the United States alone. Services are provided to youth without homes regardless of immigration status.
Transitional living services include case management, educational testing and placement, tutoring, family reunification efforts, medical and mental health assessment as needed, cultural activities, and independent living skills and leadership development workshops.
Long-term program staff have expertise in developing services that cater specially to unaccompanied immigrant children, a largely under-served population of at-risk children. Many other shelter programs have difficulty serving these unaccompanied minors because they often do not speak English and have unique immigration status issues that impact their eligibility for social services, higher-education, employment, etc
The overall goal of the program is to assist youth without homes admitted into the program to achieve stable and safe living conditions.
This goal is reached through the provision of a continuum of care aimed at equipping youth with the necessary skills to transition into safe and permanent housing.
The continuum of care includes a range of services to encourage and enhance participants' educational and vocational abilities, self-esteem, and leadership and inter-personal skills.
Supportive services begin with an in-depth assessment of each new resident and his needs. Through information obtained during initial intake and subsequent interviews with the youth, an individualized personal plan is developed for each participant. The participation of the client in "goal setting" regarding education and/or employment and the formation of a plan for permanent living are critical components of the program. Youth are encouraged to set realistic and attainable goals for themselves, consistent with their interests and abilities.
Supportive services are made available to assist youth in the implementation of their individualized personal plans, including:
These services make up a continuum of care provided by the program to assist and guide its participants in the achievement of long-term safe and stable living conditions and personal goals.
The homeless youth project has for several years offered an innovative and comprehensive street outreach program including youth counseling and intake services. Casa Libre collaborates with various community-based organizations serving immigrant communities throughout Los Angeles County. Community-based groups are aware of Casa Libre's services and from time to time refer detained or homeless unaccompanied minors to the program.
Youth without homes or living in emergency shelters are identified and evaluated for possible participation in the Casa Libre program. Homeless and at risk youth are also provided food, crisis counseling, and referrals to agencies providing low or no-cost services. Youth are carefully evaluated through a rigorous intake process prior to admission to the Casa Libre/Freedom House program.
The Casa Libre/Freedom House program has developed mechanisms to legalize the immigration status of its residents who have been abused, abandoned or neglected abroad or following their entry into the United States. Once legalized, Casa Libre's residents and former residents become eligible for a wide range of social services, and for the first time can afford to continue their education beyond high school and may be lawfully employed.
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