ALAMEDA COUNTY HEALTH CARE
Unaccompanied Immigrant Youth
Alameda County has the second highest percentage of unaccompanied immigrant youth in California (after Los Angeles County); and this number continues to rise. These young people have made the dangerous journey across borders to flee extreme violence in their home countries. The majority of unaccompanied youth in the U.S. come from Central America. Gang violence is prevalent in Central America and boys as young as six years old are routinely targeted to join gangs or risk being killed. Young girls are targeted for sexual abuse or exploitation. Many unaccompanied immigrant youth have witnessed threats or murder of a loved one. As such, these children and youth make up a unique, vulnerable population with distinct health and mental well-being challenges.
In response to this increase in the number of unaccompanied immigrant youth, many of whom are locating to Alameda County, Health Care Services Agency is expanding school-based/-linked services in and around schools to address the social, emotional, and physical health needs of these youth. While we are relying on the robustness of our existing school-based, school-linked programs to serve as many youth as possible, we recognize that not all these youth are attending school. We are, therefore, actively linking with other organizations outside of the school system to expand our reach to unaccompanied immigrant youth in the community.