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Denver nonprofit offers free therapy for children, families navigating immigration system

The Immigrant Family Initiative at the Denver Children's Advocacy Center supports children and families with stress and trauma due to their immigration status.

DENVER — Living with uncertainty can take its toll on a person's mental health. A program with The Denver Children's Advocacy Center eliminates costs and language barriers through their Immigrant Family Initiative.

"We recognized that immigration is a trauma for families, and we wanted to address that," said Katt Lovejoy, bilingual community director for the organization. "There can be trauma because a child’s parent is in the process of immigration proceedings, and they don’t know when mom and dad are going to have to leave the house.

"There can be trauma for kids in the house when ICE (U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement) shows up and takes mom or dad," Lovejoy said. "There can be trauma when a child comes with an experience of crossing the border, which can come with abuse as well."

The program offers free therapy sessions with bilingual trauma-specialized therapists. The resource is open to clients with or without health insurance.

"The goal is really to help families feel that they’re not alone in their situation," Lovejoy said.

The program is aimed at helping children ages 3 to 17 years old, but Lovejoy said she encourages adults to inquire about other resources available for them.

"It’s very important to start early with kids because there can be such an imprint to just allow them to know who they are and learn how to work through a lot of these coping mechanisms that they wouldn’t be able to figure out on their own after going through a trauma," she said.

The Immigrant Family Initiative can also connect families with other resources, such as immigration lawyers, food banks and health clinics.

Lovejoy said the organization typically receives two to five calls a week from people inquiring about these resources.

"I think it is representative there is need out there, but I also think it’s a very low number based on the needs that I see in the community," she said.

To schedule an appointment or learn more about the program, contact:

Katt LoveJoy

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