CILA Expands Social Work Program Nationally

CILA is an expert legal resource center created by the American Bar Association. CILA builds capacity for those working to advance the rights of children seeking protection by hosting trainings, answering technical assistance questions, providing space for collaboration, and creating written resources. CILA serves legal service providers, pro bono attorneys, and social service providers who are working with children in immigration proceedings. CILA is excited to share that it is expanding its social work program nationally. 

What does the expansion mean? CILA will now offer technical assistance related to social services to the Vera network of legal service providers nationally. CILA has provided social services technical assistance to providers in Texas since 2021. CILA is excited to expand this service to Vera network staff around the country. CILA team members can answer technical questions related to social services on a variety of issues. Requests for technical assistance could range from best practices for aiding and working with children and victims of trauma, to recognizing psychosocial needs, receiving and providing feedback to families and children regarding available resources, as well as latest trends in the field of social work, immigrant child welfare, and social services practice. 

How do I request social services technical assistance? Advocates (whether legal or social services staff at Vera organizations) can submit questions using a form on CILA’s website found here. You can also reach out to CILA’s social work team, Mireya Beltre ( and Marissa Barrera ( directly. 

CILA continues to offer legal technical assistance via a separate form on CILA’s website found here. Questions can cover topics such as general immigration law questions, procedural and evidentiary issues, theory of the case and legal strategy, and best practices working with children and victims of trauma. Keep in mind for questions relating to the state court portion of Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), CILA can provide guidance on state law questions for Texas but not other jurisdictions.  

Aside from technical assistance, how else can I connect with CILA and others providing social services to unaccompanied youth? Our social work program expansion also means our social services listserv and working group, which previously had a Texas focus, will now be national. We encourage social services staff at Vera organizations across the country to join our community. To learn more about how to join CILA’s social services listserv and/or our National Children's Immigration Social Services Working Group, visit our webpage here.