What Is the Social Work Detention Response Team?
Girasol’s Social Work Detention Response Team provides opportunities and resources for students and professionals in the mental health and service fields to engage in trauma-informed work to support immigrant communities.
We've led 10 virtual workshops for community members exploring 1) the detrimental mental health impacts of immigrant detention, 2) community alternatives to immigrant detention, and 3) concepts of creative resistance. Speakers have included immigrant rights organizations, academics, community organizers, and undocumented student activists.
Unaccompanied Minors Response
In 2021, we launched our Unaccompanied Minors Response to meet the needs of unaccompanied immigrant youth crossing the border and the professionals serving them. We contributed volunteer hours in the spring of 2021 and partnered with Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health to create resources for the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network.
Volunteer Trips to the Border
Starting in December 2018, we facilitated four trips for social work students and professionals to participate with partner organizations serving immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) region of Texas.
Volunteers brought donations from Austin to shelters and tent camps on each side of the border, provided training on trauma-informed work to local attorneys, oriented families at the McAllen bus station, and provided direct service support at shelters in McAllen and Brownsville, Texas.
Partner organizations have included Angry Tias y Abuelas RGV, ProBAR, Catholic Charities, Team Brownsville, The University of Texas RGV social work student organization, Posada Providencia, and Good Neighbor Settlement House.
Inter-Disciplinary Detention Work
Since 2016, Girasol has coordinated social work students and professionals in travel to the Karnes and Hutto immigrant detention centers to support individuals and families navigating the pre-asylum process. Our volunteers are trained alongside law students to work in interdisciplinary teams and support from both the legal and trauma-informed lenses.
This work has not only benefited hundreds of immigrants navigating an oppressive immigration system, but also made a lasting impact on the training and education of future mental health and legal professionals.
Partner organizations include RAICES and The University of Texas at Austin Immigration Clinic.