Health Care and Legal Resources for Immigrant Families

[UPDATE, 8/19/19: See our post Supporting Immigrant Families in the Age of Fear and Loathing, which includes fact sheets and other helpful resources you can share with families who have questions and concerns about the proposed “public charge” rule changes]
[UPDATE, 3/28/17: See our post Video: ‘Know Your Rights’ Workshop, New Toolkit for Immigrant Families, which includes videos from Public Counsel, plus a new toolkit (in English and Spanish) from the L.A. Mayor’s office; also added Learning Rights Law Center’s Immigration Resources Packet]
[UPDATE, 3/10/17: Added link to 3/8/17 webinar on Healthcare for Immigrant Communities and the New Administration]
[UPDATE, 2/24/17: Added “Know Your Rights” section and videos below]
[UPDATE, 9/12/16: Added new Child Trends report, How Trauma Shapes the Lives of Refugee and Immigrant Children in the United States, to resources below]
[UPDATE, 8/11/16: See our post Full Medi-Cal Benefits Now Available to Undocumented Immigrant Children]
[UPDATE, 4/1/16: See our post Medi-Cal Expands to Immigrant Children. Here’s How It Works]

Children of immigrants are the fastest growing population of children in the United States, with one in every 4 children now living in an immigrant family. These families face unique challenges and barriers to accessing health coverage and care.

If you are a home visitor or work in some other capacity with L.A. County’s Family Strengthening Network, you probably provide services to immigrant families, so we’ve gathered some resources and research that we hope will be useful.

Immigrant Child Health Toolkit

To help health care professionals understand immigrant families’ challenges and provide them with the best possible care, the American Academy of Pediatrics has just released an Immigrant Child Health Toolkit, which covers the following topics:

  1. Clinical Care
  2. Access to Health Care and Public Benefits
  3. Immigration Status and Related Concerns
  4. State Legal Resources for Immigrant Children and Families
  5. AAP Advocacy

Know Your Rights: Handouts and Cards for Immigrants

No matter one’s immigration status, everyone has rights when interacting with immigration agents or the police. Print and share these guides with the families you serve. And here’s one for health care providers. (All from the National Immigration Law Center.) Also watch this recording of a 3/8/17 webinar on “Healthcare for Immigrant Communities and the New Administration” and see the resources posted by the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

More Resources

Moving Beyond Trauma: Child Migrants and Refugees in the United States (Child Trends, 9/7/16): This report looks at the trauma often faced by children who are in the U.S. as immigrants or refugees. It includes recommendations — for policy and practice — on how we can mitigate trauma and its long-term cost for these children.

California Health Care Resource Guide for Undocumented Immigrants — in English and Spanish (HOPE: Hispanas Organized for Political Equality): Clinics and other resources on this list are organized by region. The list includes each clinic’s service hours, phone number, address, and the forms of payment available.

Getting Enrollment Right for Immigrant Families (The Center for Children & Families at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute, 2/26/16): This study includes recommended action steps for reaching immigrant families who are uninsured but eligible for health coverage.

Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Service (IRIS Los Angeles): This nonprofit and nonsectarian organization offers refugee resettlement assistance, employment placement services, and immigration legal aid. IRIS is a program of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

Health Coverage and Care for Immigrants (Kaiser Family Foundation, 1/20/16): This brief provides an overview of the noncitzen immigrant population and their health coverage and access to care. Overall, these findings show that noncitizens continue to face barriers to accessing health coverage and care.

Connecting Eligible Immigrant Families to Health Coverage and Care: Key Lessons from Outreach and Enrollment Workers (Kaiser Family Foundation, 10/1/11): Based on findings from focus groups conducted with outreach and enrollment workers who serve immigrant communities, this report identifies the role of Medicaid and CHIP for immigrant families; key barriers eligible, lawfully residing immigrant families face to enrolling in coverage and accessing care; successful strategies to overcome these barriers; and considerations for implementing the coverage expansion under health reform.

Key Facts on Health Coverage for Low-Income Immigrants Today and Under the Affordable Care Act (Kaiser Family Foundation, 3/4/13): This fact sheet provides an overview of health coverage for immigrants, with a focus on coverage options under the ACA.

Promotores de Salud Initiative (HHS Office of Minority Health): An e-learning program to develop culturally and linguistically competent messengers, advocates and educators to promote health and wellness among their peers and within their communities is now available through

Recent Research and News Reports

New Policy Brief Highlights Actionable Policies to Promote Safe Spaces and Economic Stability for Immigrant Communities (The Center for the Study of Social Policy, 2/9/17): Includes several actionable policies at the state and local levels that can be used to promote safe spaces and economic stability for immigrant communities, including adopting sanctuary policies like refusing to honor immigration detainer requests or opting out of federal immigration enforcement activities, and options for states to strengthen safety net services for immigrant families and support immigrant youth.

Latino Youths See Big Rise in Psychiatric Hospitalizations (Sacramento Bee, 2/15/16): Psychiatric hospitalizations of Latino youths grew by 86 percent in California between 2007 and 2014. Causes aren’t certain, but could include economic stress and trauma before immigrating. Access to care is also harder for many immigrant families.

How Fears of Deportation Harm Kids’ Education (The Atlantic, 1/26/16): “Fear is at an all-time high in the community. Parents are not going out unless they absolutely need to,” said Zorayda Moreira-Smith, the senior director for schools and community development at CASA de Maryland, an immigration advocacy-and-assistance organization. Moreira-Smith said a consequence of the immigration raids is that parents are laying low, and if their child is at risk of being detained and deported, they’re keeping them at home. In practical terms, this means children missing doctor’s appointments, missing playdates, and of increasing concern to educators, missing school.

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