Research: Supporting Immigrant and Refugee Familie.. – Migration Policy Institute

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Supporting Immigrant and Refugee Families through Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Services

Infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH) services can play an important part in supporting young children’s well-being and development. For young children in immigrant and refugee families, who make up about one-fourth of all U.S. children ages 0–5, IECMH support can be particularly impactful. These services can, for example, help mitigate the effects of trauma and stressors related to migration and acculturation experiences.

Yet while there is a clear need for policies, strategies, and program approaches that recognize and respond effectively to the diverse needs of immigrant and refugee families with young children, these families too often do not benefit from IECMH support.

This issue brief highlights the importance of IECMH services for immigrant and refugee families as well as gaps in IECMH promotion, prevention, screening, and treatment that affect these families. The brief also identifies opportunities for policymakers and practitioners to improve access to IECMH services for this population.

Table of Contents 

1  Introduction

2  The Importance of IECMH

3  IECMH Needs among Immigrant and Refugee Families

4  Gaps in Mainstream Benefits’ and ORR Services’ Support for Immigrant Children

5  Gaps across the IECMH Spectrum of Support
A. Promotion
B. Prevention
C. Screening
D. Treatment

6  Policy Recommendations

7  Conclusion

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