Forensic Mental Health
Deportation, Anxiety, and Trauma Services (DATS) is a psychoeducation program that promotes the well-being and mental health of 1st and 2nd generation immigrant and refugee children. The program aims to teach children to:
- Adapt & build individual anxiety and trauma coping skills.
- Reduce individual and family anxiety around the potential of deportation and detention.
- Increase individual confidence and optimism, as much as possible, around the process of deportation and detention trauma
- Develop a deeper feeling of family pride and a stronger understanding and appreciation for family history and culture.
- Develop greater security within the family boundaries
- Open communication windows between children and parents
The program contains eight one-hour sessions for children in individual or group sessions and provides parental consultation as well for the parents’ greater understanding and ability to help their children with their fears and anxiety around issues of deportation and/or detention.
FACTR collaborates with Amigos de Guadalupe, children, and families in provision of individual and family sessions.
DATS provides children with individual psycho-education sessions on immigration topics, and instruction on the practice of mindfulness. The program applied the workbook “Healing and Resilience: An Activity Book for Latino Children Impacted by Deportation” developed by the Children’s Psychological Health Center of San Francisco, under the direction of Child Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst, Gilbert Kliman, M.D.
The psychoeducation curriculum focuses on immigration topics, and on appropriate mindfulness for children, and is delivered to the children in a group format, so the children can benefit from peer support and encouragement. Focused parent guidance groups are provided to the children’s parents, who are specifically instructed on how they can help their children integrate the learning from the activity workbook and their children’s mindfulness practice instruction – between sessions and beyond.
Through the DATS project, FACTR seeks to help children master their fears and worries about potential detention or deportation of parents and family members by utilizing specific cultural nuances to emotionally comfort and reassure children as they receive appropriate information on such topics and instruction on coping tools in such circumstances.
The main participants of the program utilizing the workbook include:
- Undocumented children with one or two parents living in the U.S.
- Children of undocumented parents
- Children with the fear of being separated from their family
- Children who have already experienced separation as a result of deportation or detention of one or both parents
- Children between the ages of 6 to 11 years old
Goals & Objective
The overall objective of the DATS program is to promote the well-being and mental
health of the immigrant children and their families. The program seeks to successfully teach participants about how the system works regarding deportation, detention centers, and government organizations and to alleviate their worst fears.