McSilver’s Testimony to NYC Council in Support of Trauma-Informed Services for Migrants

The NYC Council wordmark displayed over a cityscape prominently featuring the statue of liberty.

NYU McSilver submitted written testimony to a joint hearing of the New York City Council Committee on General Welfare and Committee on Immigration, expressing the Institute’s support of Intros. 1095 and 1084. The two bills — part of a slate of legislation intended to provide greater support to New York City’s migrant community — seek to address mental health needs facing members of this community.

Intro. 1095 would require the Mayor’s Office of Community Health to have at least one mental health coordinator at any location where refugees and migrants receive services from the city, while Intro. 1084 would require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to develop a training on trauma-informed care, determine who, of those serving refugees, asylees and migrants, should be offered the training, and offer it to them.

In the testimony, we called the pair of bills “an important step forward towards providing some of our most vulnerable neighbors in New York City with much-needed assistance,” while urging the Council and City to ensure that those interacting with these communities have received the levels and types of training necessary to effectively work with a population that is dealing with significant levels of trauma.

“This legislation centers the trauma too many migrants, asylees, and refugees have suffered prior to arriving in the United States, including during the migration process… It highlights the importance of staff having a full understanding of trauma and its impacts on individuals, as it relates to their current and future wellness, prior to working with members of these groups. Without proper training, staff can potentially re-traumatize or continue traumatization within these groups–even inadvertently, through implementation of existing policies and/or procedures that are not trauma informed–thereby lessening the likelihood of successful integration and individual wellness.”

Read the full testimony (PDF) from the McSilver Institute