Mapping Systems of Care for Unaccompanied Minors at the US Mexico Border

The Fund for Research and Innovation in Global Health and Social Development

This study focuses on understanding the care systems that Unaccompanied Children (UC) encounter prior to entering the United States. We are particularly interested in understanding what kinds of information about the health and mental health of UC is collected within various care sites in Mexican border communities, according to what logics, and if and how this information travels with minors as they cross the border. We believe that examining the logics that shape how human service workers collect health and mental health information about minors in their care can help us identify facilitators and barriers to continuity of care that have the potential to positively impact the long-term well-being of UC and their families. The study will involve remote and in-person interviews with human service workers in Tijuana and Nogales, two border communities with different migrant populations and distinct organizational ecosystems, between September of 2023 and August of 2024. This study promises to deepen our understanding of how care providers in Mexico—and particularly at the border—are part of a larger transnational network of programs and policies. Findings from the two-year study will also have practical implications for improving continuity of care for UC and, ultimately, a transnational conceptualization of what it means to care for unaccompanied children.