Program
             
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Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law


"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt                
                         

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              Program

Structure

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The Casa Libre/Freedom House currently offers an emergency and transitional living shelter program for homeless children under the age of 18 years. The program's expertise lies in the provision of shelter, social, educational, medical and legal services for homeless children, with a focus on unaccompanied immigrant children who have often been abused, abandoned, or neglected in this home countries and traveled to the United States alone.

  • Emergency shelter services include case management, immediate efforts at family reunification, educational testing, identifying and addressing urgent medical needs, investigation of areas in which legal services are needed, etc.
  • Transitional living services include long-term shelter, case management, educational testing and placement, tutoring, family reunification efforts, medical and mental health care as needed, cultural activities, independent living skills workshops, and leadership training workshops.
The program strives to identify and provide services for youth of diverse backgrounds, including ethnic diversity, sexual orientation, and children with physical disabilities. Services are provided to youth without homes regardless of immigration status.

Program staff have developed an expertise in providing critically needed services to unaccompanied immigrant children, a largely under-served population of at-risk children. Many other shelter programs have difficulty serving these children because they often do not speak English and have unique immigration status issues that impact on their eligibility for social services, education, employment, etc.

Supportive Services


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 remain in 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 basic life skills training, interpersonal skills development, health care, mental health services, educational testing and placement, vocational assistance, family reunification services, legal services, etc. 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.

Community Outreach and Intake Process

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The homeless youth project has for several years offered an innovative and comprehensive street outreach program including youth counseling and intake services. Youth counselors conduct outreach several nights each week. 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.


Activities


Finally, the Casa Libre/Freedom House offers its residents a range of cultural and creative art activities, including photography, music lessons, monthly "Film Night at Casa Libre" with presentations by the film-makers, and routine weekend outings to sporting events, museums, parks, etc.

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Immigration



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, these children 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. No other single service more dramatically and positively changes the opportunities available to immigrant homeless and at-risk immigrant children. No other shelter that we are aware of provides this type of service for immigrant resident children.

Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law Websites:
CENTERFORHUMANRIGHTS.ORG - CASA-LIBRE.ORG - CENTERFORHUMANRIGHTS.ORG/PRISONERS - CENTERFORHUMANRIGHTS.ORG/DOMA-
VOCESUNIDAS.ORG - NATIONALIMMIGRATIONREFORM.ORG - IMMIGRANTCHILDREN.ORG