Immigrant Children with Traumatic Separation

Information for Professionals


Sudden separation from a caregiver can be very overwhelming to a child – regardless of their age. Infants, young children and even adolescents can have a difficult time coping with the separation. Depending on the circumstances, the child’s experience of the separation can be traumatic. This is particularly true if the separation is sudden, unexpected to the child, prolonged or if it is accompanied by a history of additional stressors. Below are several resources 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.


• Guiding Caregivers: How to Talk to a Child About Deportation or Separation

Information for professionals to utilize in helping caregivers speak with a child about the topic of deportation or separation.

Download: English | Español | Kreyól

• How to Talk to a Child Worried about Deportation

This is a 1-page patient education handout for families coping with fear of deportation.

Download: English | Español | Kreyól

Clinical Tools

• After the Harvest: A Story About Saying Goodbye

Children’s book with several treatment tools including affect expression, stress management skills and cognitive affective regulation. The book also helps children to recognize physiological symptoms of stress and how to cope with the stress in a healthy way.

Read EBook: English

• Affect Expression Tool

Printable list of emotions/faces that can be utilized to teach affect expression and to help a child identify how they feel.

Download: English | Español

National Child Traumatic Stress Network

• Traumatic Separation and Refugee and Immigrant Children

Tips for Current Caregivers: Provides tips for current caregivers and others to help address the needs of immigrant and refugee children who have experienced traumatic separation.

Download: English

• Children with Traumatic Separation: Information for Professionals

Provides information and suggestions for helping children who experience traumatic separation from a caregiver.

Download: English


• Giving Immigrant Children a Voice: Understanding Traumatic Separation

Focuses on helping providers, current caregivers, and others understand and recognize the effects of Traumatic Separation in immigrant children of different ages, understand immigrant children’s prior trauma experiences, and provide practical suggestions for how to support immigrant children who have been separated from parents and siblings.

View: English

• Trauma-Informed Care for Unaccompanied Children: Culture, Youth Development, Traumatic Grief and Separation, and Socio-cultural Responsive Interventions with Youth Ages 7 and Older (2019)

Developed by Javier Rosado, PhD, Susana Rivera PhD, and Luis Flores, MA, this webinar defines traumatic separation and grief and outlines the developmental impacts on youth. Additionally, participants will learn how to be responsive to the cultural and linguistic needs of youth. Participants will learn children’s common fears and perceived threats to safety experienced by youth exposed to traumatic events as well as culturally responsive strategies for staff to use when working with youth.

View: English

View: Spanish

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