What to Know
- Gov. Cuomo says state agencies are ready to provide social services to the estimated hundreds of immigrant children brought from the border
- He says state services can be provided to children released to a foster family or relative living in the state
- Cuomo has been highly critical of Trump's "zero tolerance" policy that results in the separation of asylum-seeking families.
State officials say they're ready to provide social services to the estimated 1,000-plus immigrant children housed at New York foster-care facilities after being separated from their asylum-seeking parents.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo says Monday that state agencies can send public services providers to government-contracted foster care agencies that request help for children separated from parents after the families were caught crossing the southern border illegally.
New services have also been set up uniquely for the immigrant children separated from their parents in foster care. Cuomo says social workers will be dispatched to worth with the children and the sponsor families to provide counseling, assistant with education and language, and education and prevention related to human trafficking and gang violence.
The state will also expand services under the Liberty Defense Project to ensure access to legal representation, Cuomo says.
And all children under 21 who haven't graduated from high school have a right to enroll in public school in the school district where they're living, Cuomo says.
"Early school enrollment and regular attendance is key to the successful integration of new immigrant children arriving in New York," he said. "Resources will be targeted to community based organizations to help guardians navigate the enrollment process and provide continued support on how to support their child's educational progress regardless of their own linguistic abilities, literacy, or educational background."
Cuomo says the federal government has finally disclosed that there are at least 1,292 unaccompaned minors currently being cared for in the state, though the estimate isn't comprehensive and remains unverified.
One such foster care provider on Long Island, MercyFirst in Syosset, received Monday two more children separated at the border, bringing the total number of kids to 10. Elected officials toured the facility for the first time Monday.
"The very positive news is the eight [initial] children have all had contacts with their parents," said Rep. Tom Suozzi.
Of the 10 kids now staying at MercyFirst -- between the ages of 4 and 17 -- half are boys, and they are from Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Brazil.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said the children appeared to be well cared for.
"They are getting fed, they are getting the care they need. They are getting education, sports, woodworking, wonderful nutrition," she said.
The Democrat was joined at his Manhattan office by the heads of the state health and family services agencies and by immigrant advocates. He also announced that state services can be provided to children released to a foster family or to a relative living in New York state.