Educational Advocacy for Unaccompanied Immigrant Youth in California
Tools to advocate for unaccompanied immigrant youth in federal immigration custody and youth recently released from custody

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Access to a meaningful education is a fundamental right that promotes upward mobility across generations. 

Unfortunately, many unaccompanied immigrant children face obstacles to accessing quality education, especially those in federal immigration custody, who are often prohibited from leaving the facilities in which they are detained. Even unaccompanied children who are living in the community encounter barriers including difficulty enrolling in school, accessing English learner programs, and obtaining disability-related services.

This toolkit provides advocates for unaccompanied children with a summary of the laws and policies available to advocate for these children’s meaningful access to education. It includes:

  • An overview of the population of unaccompanied children in federal immigration custody, as well as the different placements in federal custody in which unaccompanied children live;
  • Information about unaccompanied children in federal immigration custody in California;
    A summary of the federal and state legal requirements related to unaccompanied children’s educational rights; and
  • An outline of unaccompanied children’s challenges accessing education and accompanying opportunities for advocates to address these challenges.

Education is the necessary foundation upon which children can build the lives that they envision for themselves. It is critical that advocates for unaccompanied children have the resources they need to ensure these children can access the quality education to which they are entitled.

For more information, or to speak to one of the toolkit's authors, please email