Unaccompanied Children Migrating from Central America: Public Health Implications for Violence Prevention and Intervention

Author(s): Lianne Fuino ESTEFAN ; Katie A. PORTS ; Tracy HIPP



Purpose of Review

Unaccompanied children (UC) migrating to the USA from the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are an underserved population at high risk for health, academic, and social problems. These children experience trauma, violence, and other risk factors that are shared among several types of interpersonal violence.

Recent Findings

The trauma and violence experienced by many unaccompanied children, and the subsequent implications for their healthy development into adulthood, indicate the critical need for a public health approach to prevention and intervention.


This paper provides an overview of the violence experienced by unaccompanied children along their migration journey, the implications of violence and trauma for the health and well-being of the children across their lifespan, prevention and intervention approaches for UC resettled in the USA, and suggestions for adapted interventions to best address the unique needs of this vulnerable population.


Unaccompanied minors, Central America, Violence, Trauma, Public health, Intervention 

Tags: Latin America, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Adolescents, Children, Youth, Unaccompanied minors, Violence, Traumatic life events, Child maltreatment

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