Position Statement on Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC) in the United States
The Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice is dedicated to applying principles of human rights to policy development and community action to promote the well-being and mental health of vulnerable communities, including immigrants and refugees. Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) are particularly vulnerable. They are migrant children under the age of 18 who are separated from both parents or guardians and are not being cared for by an adult who, by law or by custom, is responsible for doing so (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR], 1997). Specifically, UASC are minors who cross the border into the United States and request asylum upon entry. Over 120,000 UASC were referred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement for crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in the past year. This requires a call for action that improves how the children’s needs are met and reforms migration policies that impact UASC’s experiences.