2021 Grants Challenge

Migrant Youth Integration Project

CARECEN’s Migrant Youth Integration Project empowers recently arrived youth through civic, social, and educational engagement. We provide holistic workshops that ensure recently arrived youth, ages 14-24, have access to essential integration support services, and in turn, become effective community leaders. Participants can also access other Parent & Youth Center programs, such as College Head Start, Youth Leadership, and English Language Learner instruction, developing their leadership skills & increasing confidence in their academic pursuits.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA

San Fernando Valley

South LA

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

According to the U.S. Dept. of Education, the graduation rate for migrant youth with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) was only 61% compared to the nationwide graduation rate of 81%. This subset of students in the LAUSD school system require extensive support from schools and social services to address their unique socio-economic barriers. In the last decade alone, we have seen a growing trend of migrant youth from the Northern Triangle of Central America (Honduras, El Salvador, & Guatemala) seeking asylum at the U.S. southern border. The reasons for migration are directly linked to increased levels of poverty, gang violence, and political instability. To make matters worse, the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as two powerful hurricanes, further devastated the region. Consequently, migrant youth are forced to flee and seek refuge in the U.S. and adapt to a new life. In order for migrant youth to successfully integrate, they require support that centers their needs, language and culture.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

CARECEN’s Migrant Youth Integration project will support 20-40 recently arrived migrant youth in their civic, social, & economic success in the US. We will provide them with holistic support & programs that cover legal, social services, advocacy, & educational needs. For the past year, CARECEN has collaborated with LAUSD staff, to connect migrant youth, by holding workshops with various high schools in the district. The LA2050 grant will strengthen our partnership with three schools; Helen Bernstein (East Hollywood), Miguel Contreras (Pico-Union), and Santee High School (South Los Angeles), all schools with a large migrant youth population. Through this partnership we will be able to connect students directly to our network of support services & programming. If awarded, the grant will help cover the costs & extended services of our team of experienced FTE Case Managers and Organizers overseeing the project’s implementation. In addition, it allows us to sub-contract mental health workshops at our site. CARECEN staff have developed considerable experience in understanding & addressing migrant youth’s various needs. Following the first surge of Unaccompanied Children (UAC), we supported litigation that established a right to counsel for minors in removal proceedings, provided free legal counsel to migrant youth, accompanied many UACs on their journey from the southern border to Los Angeles, & connect them to critical social services, housing, health, and case management.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 40

Indirect Impact: 150,000

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

CARECEN's Migrant Youth Integration Project is rooted in transformative change and a well-informed community that is equipped with the right tools necessary for equitable systemic change. Our integration programming is already transforming the social landscape of Pico-Union/Westlake into a community of knowledge and grassroots power, led by migrant youth who are capable of navigating the complex socio-economic barriers that plague newly arrived migrants. In a city where monolingual Spanish-speaking Latino immigrants from Central America makeup nearly 65% of households, CARECEN envisions a future Los Angeles as a place where migrant youth and all other communities live in peace and dignity, enjoy economic well-being, social justice and political empowerment. We can achieve this vision by ensuring we educate, empower and integrate migrant youth into the social fabric of Los Angeles.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

CARECEN collects data to measure the effectiveness of its Migrant Youth Integration Project efforts on a regular basis in order to improve the quality of the programs & to ensure that outcomes are met. Our coordinators maintain accurate & up-to-date records for youth participating in our trainings & workshops, community forums, stakeholder delegations, & meetings. We also implement registration forms & an evaluation at the end of the training where youth can give input on what they learned, and how to improve trainings. Through these measures, we will determine the levels of engagement & gauge its retention efforts. In addition, our case manager will track all internal & external referrals with our Deportation Defense Unit, mental health services, Youth Center, Organizing Department & partner organizations to determine the efficacy of our programming & services. In addition, our qualitative efforts include measuring our participant's emotional baseline & how they've improved over time.

Which of the CONNECT metrics will you impact?​

Social and emotional support

LGBTQ+ equity and inclusion

Immigrant integration

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

LA is the best place to LEARN

LA is the best place to CREATE