2021 Grants Challenge

Providing emergency housing & services for unaccompanied detained immigrant children

Casa Libre is the only licensed group home in the country receiving unaccompanied detained minors from federal custody. As widely reported in the media, thousands of minors are in federal custody in massively overcrowded conditions. We secure the release of minors and provide family reunification services, social and legal services, case management, and educational testing & placement. Our sister organization, the Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law Foundation, represents all detained minors and can gain their release to Casa Libre.


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

County of Los Angeles

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

In recent years, there has been an unprecedented increase in the number of unaccompanied children coming to the United States, fleeing violence and poverty in Central America. Today, thousands of children are temporarily housed in overcrowded border patrol and HHS facilities. Los Angeles has also seen a rise in inner-city homeless immigrant youth. Our sister organization, CHRCL Foundation, represents all detained minors nationwide in the Flores. case and is the only organization that can win the release of minors from federal custody. In their home countries, the minors we serve have often been abused or abandoned, and often are fleeing endemic violence. We seek to secure the release of minors, to help them reunite with their families, and to address their need for continuing education, help to legalize their immigration status, and case management and social services to address their most immediate emotional and daily needs.

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

Our sister organization, CHRCL Foundation, is the only organization in the country with the right tot access facilities where minors are detained through the Flores federal court case. It identifies children with no sponsors or sponsors who have been rejected by the Government and can secure the release of these minors to Casa Libre. At Casa Libre we provide a medical, educational, social, and legal assessment of all new residents. Our staff is experienced dealing with unaccompanied minors. We have collaborative agreements with numerous community-based organizations that help us deliver services to Casa Libre residents. Academic supportive services begins with an in-depth assessment of each new resident and their needs. The participation of the client in goal setting regarding their education is a critical component of the program. We provide family reunification services when this is a feasible and realistic option. We assess each resident's immigration status and our sister org, CHRCL Foundation, provides legal services for all residents. 90% of all residents win legal status. We provide medical assessments and treatment as needed through a partnership with the Oscar Romero Clinic. When family reunification is not possible, we provide services to transition residents to longer term safe housing in local transitional living programs. for youth. We provide ongoing social and legal services after residents leave our program.

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: 27

Indirect Impact: 200

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

Through our work LA County is a place where unaccompanied minors can land in a safe place while arrangements are made for family reunification or transfer to a transitional living program. Our program also addresses homelessness within Los Angeles by transitioning residents into stable living situations. Many detained minors have relatives living in Los Angeles who are afraid to sponsor the release of the child because their information may be shared with ICE and they may face arrest & deportation. Others may not be approved by the Government because of minor old arrest records or prior deportation orders. The services provided by Casa Libre attempt to address the gaps in healthcare, education, and legal representation that our residents have faced. Our program helps make Los Angeles a diverse community that extends a welcome hand to unaccompanied minors who will otherwise languish in federal custody for months and may eventually be deported to situations that are highly dangerous.

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

The shelter evaluates its effectiveness based on the number of clients successfully transitioned from federal custody or street living to safe and secure living situations, in comparison with the total number of clients served. We also measure our success using numerous metrics, including the number of residents who resume their education, the number who complete high school, the number reunited with families or transitioned into safe and more permanent housing, the number who stay drug and alcohol free, the number who successfully legalize their status. We measure these metrics both while minors are residents as well as after they graduate from the program.

Which of the CONNECT metrics will you impact?​

Immigrant integration


Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

LA is the healthiest place to LIVE