COPING WITH DEPORTATION
Supporting Children After the Deportation of a Family Member
When a parent, caregiver or sibling is deported, or even when there is the threat of deportation, the whole family suffers. Deportation almost always comes without warning, and a child might come home from school or an activity to find their parent, caregiver, sibling, or entire family is gone. Living with the constant fear of deportation can cause toxic or prolonged stress for a child, potentially leading to an increased risk of negative health outcomes.
HOW DOES RAINBOWS PROVIDE SUPPORT?
Rainbows for All Children has helped more than 3.5 million youth over the past 38 years, and continues to serve all children, regardless of age, race, gender or financial ability. If you know a child grieving from a loss, click here to find Rainbows programming near you. The Rainbows program is free for all participants anywhere in the world that groups meet.
By joining the Rainbows community as a facilitator or a participant, you gain access to an effective and engaging curriculum, a community of peers for those experiencing a loss, and materials and training to help facilitators prepare.
Resources for Families Facing Deportation and Separation
by the Women’s Refugee Commission
This link provides resources and information regarding family separation due to deportation, also available in Spanish.
Help for People in Detention or Facing Deportation
This resource gives an in-depth breakdown of the deportation process and provides links to resources to help locate an individual and find a deportation attorney.
Families for Freedom
This human rights organization provides support, education, and campaigning for families and communities facing and fighting deportation.
“Traumatic Separation and Refugee and Immigrant Children: Tips for Current Caregivers”
“How to Talk to a Child Worried About Deportation”
“Guiding Caregivers: How to Talk to a Child About Deportation or Separation”
Articles and Educational Brochures
“Coping with Grief and Loss” from Help Guide
Natural Beach Living
Visual Cards for Managing Feelings and Emotions Free Printables
Talking with Young Children About Deportation Worries
by Early Childhood Mental Health Program (ECMHP)
This article guides parents on addressing children’s fear surrounding deportation.
Deportation & Immigrant Children with Traumatic Separation
by Center for Child Stress & Health, Florida State University College of Medicine
This site includes several resources in English, Spanish, and Creole for professionals who work with immigrant children and families who are coping with either traumatic separation or fear of becoming separated from their family members.
U.S. Citizen Children Impacted by Immigration Enforcement
by the American Immigration Council
This article provides facts about U.S. children who may be impacted by immigration enforcement actions, the challenges ad risk factors children face, and existing mechanisms designed to protect children is a parent is detained or deported.
Immigrant Services Directory
This document acts as a directory for immigrant services by state.
How Fears of Deportation Harm Kids’ Education
by Melinda Anderson
This article discusses how the threat of raids can prevent some parents who are undocumented from sending their children to school and offers ways communities can come together to help combat this problem.
*Note: not all books only fall under the ages they are listed under. Some with a * can work for older ages as well.
The Healing Code: 6 Minutes to Heal the Source of Your Health, Success, or Relationship Issue
by Ben Johnson
Your healing kit for life—to recover from issues you know about, and repair the ones you don’t.
Buy the book here
Two White Rabbits
by Jairo Buitrago, illustrated by Rafael Yockteng, translated by Elisa Amado
In this moving and timely story, a young child describes what it is like to be a migrant as she and her father travel north toward the U.S. border. They travel mostly on the roof of a train known as The Beast, but the little girl doesn’t know where they are going. As many thousands of people, especially children, in Mexico and Central America continue to make the arduous journey to the U.S. border in search of a better life, this is an important book that shows a young migrant’s perspective.
The Invisible String*
by Patrice Karst
The Invisible String delivers a particularly compelling message in today’s uncertain times that though we may be separated from the ones we care for, whether through anger, or distance or even death, love is the unending connection that binds us all, and, by extension, ultimately binds every person on the planet to everyone else.
Buy the book here
Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant’s Tale
by Duncan Tonatiuh
A young rabbit named Poncho eagerly awaits his papa’s return. Papa Rabbit traveled north two years ago to find work in the great carrot and lettuce fields to earn money for his family. When Papa does not return, Pancho sets out to find him. Duncan Tonatiuh brings to light the hardship and struggles faced by thousands of families who seek to make better lives for themselves and their children by illegally crossing the border.
From North to South/Del Norte al Sur
by Rene Lainez, illustrated by Joe Capeda
Jose loves helping Mama in the garden outside their home in California. But when Mama is sent back to Mexico for not having proper papers, Jose and his Papa face an uncertain future. Award-winning childrens book author Rene Colato Lainez tackles the difficult and timely subject of family separation with exquisite tenderness.
Mama’s Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation
by Edwidge Danticat, illustrated by Leslie Staub
After Saya’s mother is sent to an immigration detention center, Saya finds comfort in listening to her mother’s warm greeting on their answering machine. To ease the distance between them while she’s in jail, Mama begins sending Saya bedtime stories inspired by Haitian folklore on cassette tape. Moved by her mother’s tales and her father’s attempts to reunite their family, Saya writes a story of her own—one that just might bring her mother home for good.
Rosita Gets Scared: A Comic and Activity Book to Help Immigrant Children Talk about Fear
by Vicko Alvarez
Small black and white booklet where Rosita gives her advice on how to cope with fear of deportation. Available in English and Spanish.
My Family Divided: One Girl’s Journey of Home, Loss, and Hope
by Diane Guerrero and Erica Moroz
Diane Guerrero was a young girl living in Boston. One day, while she was at school, her undocumented immigrant parents were taken from their home, detained and deported. Guerrero’s life, which had been full of the support of a loving family, was turned upside down.
The Sky at Our Feet*
by Nadia Hashimi
A young boy fears that his mother, an illegal immigrant from Afghanistan, has been deported, and he runs away to New York City to find help. A timely and poignant story about contemporary Muslims by the acclaimed author of One Half from the East.
The Distance Between Us: A Memoir
by Reyna Grande
Reyna Grande vividly brings to life her tumultuous early years in this story of a childhood spent torn between two parents and two countries. As her parents make the dangerous trek across the Mexican border to “El Otro Lado” (the other side) in pursuit of the American dream, Reyna and her siblings are forced into the already overburdened household of their stern grandmother. When their mother at last returns, Reyna prepared for her own journey to “El Otro Lado” to live with the man who has haunted her imagination for years, her long-absent father.
Rosita Gets Scared
by Vicko Alvarez
This is a 14-page comic where Rosita tells her scary story and gives advice on how to cope with fear of deportation. This book is designed as a teaching tool for culturally relevant social and emotional learning of children who are undocumented or have undocumented family members. It is also available in Spanish.
Enrique’s Journey (The Young Aduly Adaptation): The True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite with His Mother*
by Sonia Nazario
This book is the true story of Enrique, a teenager from Honduras, who sets out on a journey, braving hardship and peril, to find his mother, who had no choice but to leave him when he was a child and go to the United States in search of work. Enrique’s story will bring to light the daily struggles of migrants, legal or otherwise, and the complicated choices they face simply trying to survive and provide for the basic needs of their families.
The Sun is Also a Star
by Nicola Yoon
It’s Natasha’s last day in New York City, where she has lived for ten years. Her family, living as undocumented immigrants in a small Brooklyn apartment, are now being deported to Jamaica after her father’s arrest for drunk driving. Natasha is scouring the city for a chance to stay in the United States legally. Both relatable and profound, the bittersweet ending conveys a sense of hopefulness that will resonate with teens.
by Anna Banks
It’s been several years since Carly Vega’s parents were deported. Carly lives with her older brother, studies hard, and works the graveyard shift at a convenience store to earn enough to bring her parents back from Mexico. All she wants is to stay under the radar and do what her family expects.
The Impact Undocumented Status Can Have on Mental Health
Fear of being arrested and deported, family separation, and poverty are just some of the daily anxieties faced by an estimated 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S. And as Simon Thompson reports, stress can also take a toll on mental health.
Open Studio Project
The Open Studio Project, located in Evanston, IL,emphasizes the use of art to facilitate growth, healing and understanding.
Overview of the Deportation Process
This PDF gives an in-depth breakdown of the immigration process and the different agencies involved in it.
Institute for Therapy Through the Arts
The institute uses art to conduct therapy sessions. Therapists only use empirically researched methods and provide them within a continuity of care model.
The Family Institute by Northwestern University
This institute offers counseling for families who can’t afford therapy. Therapist of graduate-level therapist-in-training. Committed to strength and healing the whole family system by supporting children, adults, couples and families across their lifespan.
Metropolitan Family Services
From early learning, afterschool and job readiness programs to counseling, mental health services and legal assistance.
Erie Family Health
Provides high quality medical, dental and behavioral healthcare to all regardless of ability to pay.
Provides children’s therapy toys.
Move Your Mind
Stress free environments where we can all connect as teens through movement and creative outlets.
Provides affordable mental health services that make lives better for our clients, their families and the community.
Evanston/North Chicago Yoga
Find More Resources
We provide resources for all forms of grief.
Of all the children in America, around 15% will experience the death of a family member or sibling. Even though death is ultimately a fact of life, it can be hard for anyone to experience this kind of loss, let alone a child.
There are about 1.25 million divorces per year in the United States. Of all U.S. children, 50% will witness the breakup of their parents’ marriage, and almost 50% of those children will also see the breakup of a parent’s second marriage.
One in 28 children will have a parent become incarcerated before their 18th birthday. Approximately half of children with incarcerated parents are younger than 10 years old.
When a parent, caregiver or sibling is deported, or even when there is the threat of deportation, the whole family suffers.
Parental deployment is a form of loss that 3% of American children experience. This can be a very difficult adjustment for children, who may not be able to see or speak to that parent regularly, and who also may experience a great deal of stress when worried about his or her parent or guardian’s safety.
A child coping with the significant illness of a parent, caregiver or sibling can face many challenges.
Community crises, such as natural disasters, pandemics or political unrest, cause confusing emotions for children. Rainbows’ programs can help children navigate difficult times and provide a sense of stability.
Find A Support Group
Rainbows’ programs help children grieving the loss of a parent or guardian due to death, divorce/separation, deployment, deportation, incarceration or trauma.