It's spring break and also my good friend's birthday was this last weekend, so I decided to make a trip down to Miami for the birthday girl and some thesis research. I took a day to visit American's for Immigrant Justice, an NGO I worked at between 2007 and 2010 and an important legal service provider to unaccompanied children in South Florida. I had a few assumptions I wanted to prove/disprove, so I asked if I could interview some of the staff that work closely with the kids.
- Most clients have smart phones. Including the kids (teens).
- Low-income families have phones, but maybe just one and it's shared.
- Clients' phones get cut off often. They can't pay bills. Numbers change regularly.
- Methods of communication: WhatsApp + sms. Very few email.
- FB: The kids have Facebook.
- Illiterate clients are also using smart phones. One story: kid sends the attorney a picture of a letter that came in the mail for him because he can't read it.
- Same attorney as above: "Rural Guatemalan's with no light have phones. Sending important docs through Whatsapp."
- Almost every kid is going to court. It's drilled into them. (question: what happened to the very few that don't go to the first hearing? lost the notice? forgot?)
- Some legal orgs are giving KYRs at court prior to the kids hearing. They're there to help as friend of court, but not formally represent the child.
- Kids often hear about legal services at court. They get a flyer about AIJ there. Or they meet the attorney there for the first time, which sometimes leads to a referral.
ALLIES / COMMUNITY - Other channels to share the site with kids
- Community centers
- Schools (in S. Florida the schools, social workers at school, teachers are really concerned about getting the kids help. They are allies).
- ORR shelter – partnering with caseworkers at shelters
- Partnering with judges
- Creating materials that kids find value in. (my assumption: kids will not through away documents they find value in)