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Carlos’ Story

Carlos at Advocates for Children's office in September 2015.

Carlos is an immigrant student from Guatemala who came to the U.S. on his own due to dire poverty in his home country. When he was a recently-arrived 16-year-old, Carlos was referred to AFC by a social worker at The Legal Aid Society. Carlos had last attended school at age 11; because his family could not afford the school fees in Guatemala, he began working to help support his family at the end of sixth grade. After arriving in the Bronx, Carlos twice attempted to enroll in school, but was rebuffed both times. He was first turned away at the enrollment center because his aunt did not have any form of ID, and on his return visit with his uncle, he was unable to register due to lack of custodial paperwork.

AFC intervened and asserted Carlos’ right, as an unaccompanied minor living doubled-up with family, to immediate enrollment under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act. We also secured Carlos’ placement at Manhattan International High School, a school that serves recently arrived immigrant youth, where he would be able to learn English from experienced teachers and be with peers who had similar life experiences. AFC accompanied Carlos to the enrollment center to ensure he was able to enroll in time for the first day of school. He quickly proved himself to be an eager and hardworking student, even referring other immigrant youth to AFC for help navigating the education system. In June 2019, Carlos contacted his former AFC attorney to let her know he was graduating from high school!