Family Reunification Program (FRP)

Promoting immigrant families resilience through restored relationships

Many immigrant families in our community are experiencing family reunification after a long separation due to parents immigrating years prior to their children.  The majority of the youth are teenagers when they are able to join their parents in the United States, but they were only toddlers when their parents left for the United States, leaving them in the care of relatives.  These families face the challenge of coming together as a functioning family when they may not know each other, despite their best efforts to maintain a relationship during their separation.  In addition to the time and distance of the separation, often families are also dealing with trauma due to violence experienced in their home countries as well as poverty as they seek to make a life here.  While some families are able to navigate these complicated circumstances successfully on their own, many need assistance to build attachment, address trauma, and adjust to life in a new country and a “new” family.

The Family Reunification Program of Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS) provides services for youth and families who have experienced a separation and reunification based on immigration. The program provides mental health counseling and case management to connect the family with local resources, assist youth in adjusting to the home and country, provide psychoeducational support for the family as they reunite, and monitor safety concerns. This program promotes the integration of interventions across service systems to include, but not limited to recreation programs, mental health, court services, schools, and other community agencies.

Immigrant families living in poverty can struggle to access needed therapeutic services due to the barriers of transportation, language, and schedule. FRP counselors meet with youth and families at locations convenient for them, typically in their home or community, at a time that works for them, and provide services in Spanish or English.

What does FRP offer?

Individual and Family Services:

  • Individual and Family Counseling
  • Intensive Case Management

Group Based Services:

  • Educational Workshops for Parents
  • Pscyhoeducation Groups for Youth
  • Youth Skill Building Workshops

Core Topics for Youth Workshops & Groups:

  • Acculturation for Recently Arrived Youth
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Communication skills
  • Stress Management/Coping Skills
  • Goal Setting/Future orientation
  • Healthy Relationships –Dating, Friends, Gangs, Parents, Adults
  • Family Reunification – stages, normalizing, steps towards progress, when further help is needed
  • Asking for Help/Sources of Support
  • Resistance & Refusal skills
  • Decision Making Process
  • Self- identity – defining, displaying, developing
  • Know your rights – immigration, police, school, at home, work, as a child
  • Internet Safety

Core Topics for Parent Workshops:

  • Family Reunification
  • Internet Safety –from a parenting, non-technical perspective
  • Gang Prevention
  • Keeping your kids safe in the community (gangs, internet, etc.)
  • Preparing for the youth’s arrival from home country
  • What Caregivers should know about Medical and Emotional Health for Recently Arrived Youth
  • Trauma 101 for Parents
  • Communication
  • Creating Safety and Structure in your home
  • Youth Us Norms/Perspectives
  • Know your Rights

Core Topics for Professional Development:

  • Responding to the Needs of Gang Involved Youth
  • Federal Immigration Process for Children and Youth
  • Working with Recently Immigrated Youth from Central America: Immigrant Parent and Child Family Dynamics and the Immigration Process
  • Understanding and Responding to Trauma in Student Populations: A Trauma Informed Perspective
  • Vulnerability and Central American Youth: Interventions and Strategies

What’s the cost and how do I refer someone?

  • The program is free to eligible youth and their families.
  • Contact the Clinical Program Supervisor for more information and to receive the referral form.

Who is eligible?

  • Children and youth who can be referred to FRP are children and youth who are either an immigrant or child of immigrant(s) living in poverty in Fairfax County who are demonstrating at-risk behaviors or poor decision-making and who have recently reunified with parents after separation due to immigration.
  • That person’s family

Our Stories

Youth Development
Alex and Manuel |

NVFS youth groups offer more than psycho-education and a supportive network. They offer teens experiences and opportunities that they may not have had otherwise, whether it’s the opportunity to foster friendships or to have an adult male role model whom they can finally count on.

Read more >
Cesar, NVFS Youth Initiatives client
Family Reunification
Cesar |

When Cesar was 14 years old, he came to the United States hoping for a brighter future and the opportunity to pursue his dreams. But he immediately came head-to-head with various obstacles, such as a language barrier, adjusting to a new climate and becoming acquainted with a new community.

Read more >
Youth Development
Mario |

Mario was struggling with school and getting into trouble in his neighborhood. His mother wasn’t sure where to turn, so his school counselor contacted NVFS’ Intervention, Prevention & Education (IPE) program.

Read more >
Family Reunification
Lydia |

Lydia came to the United States to reconnect with her mother after being apart for five years. Through NVFS’ family reunification program, she was able to not only rebuild that relationship, but prepare herself for a brighter future.

Read more >