Immigrant Legal Center has selected Monica Meier as its new Director of Social Work. Meier will lead ILC’s social work program integrating high quality, pro bono immigration legal services with additional services that unaccompanied children and their family sponsors need for healthy integration to Nebraska communities.
In response to the overwhelming need for services for unaccompanied children, ILC joined the Unaccompanied Child Online Referral Database (UCORD) network and has begun receiving referrals for unaccompanied children who are released to Nebraska family sponsors.
On average, Nebraska receives 385 unaccompanied children per year. However, in fiscal year 2021 Nebraska received 890 unaccompanied children. ILC’s new program will connect unaccompanied children resettled in Nebraska and their family sponsors with immigration legal services and other critical resources. An unaccompanied child is defined by U.S. law as someone who enters the United States under the age of 18 years old, without lawful status, and without an accompanying parent or legal guardian.
Navigating the American immigration legal system is extremely difficult and critically important to the child’s future and long-term wellbeing. Providing immigration legal representation, and encouraging and monitoring successful social integration is a significant challenge and can be overwhelming for family sponsors. Integrating immigration legal services with social work and ensures the best chance of a positive outcome in the child’s immigration case, which is critical to the child’s future.
For 16 years Monica has served the immigrant community in Nebraska providing bilingual counseling and social work services to immigrant families, including unaccompanied children and their families. Monica is passionate about the importance of mental health and social justice, in particular immigrant justice.
She is a Certified Master Social Worker, Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, and Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner. The depth of her experience includes direct clinic and social work care, case management, supervision, and development and implementation of social work best practices and quality improvement. Monica is an adjunct social work instructor at teaching bilingual Master of Social Work classes and serves as a clinical supervisor for students seeking supervision hours for licensure.
Monica serves as the Co-Chair with Omaha Area Sanctuary Network and is a Board Member for Eat ‘N Talk Africa.