Brett Stark

  • Hosted by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York
  • Sponsored by Pfizer Inc., Ropes & Gray LLP
  • Service location New York
  • Law school Harvard Law School
  • Issue area Children/Youth, Immigrant Populations
  • Fellowship class year 2012
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Brett represented unaccompanied immigrant youth in family and immigration court, and collaborated with health care professionals to create a comprehensive plan to address the diverse needs of youth survivors of torture, trafficking, and violence.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project

An unprecedented influx of unaccompanied immigrant youth—children under the age of 18 arriving in the U.S. without a parent or guardian—has surged across the southern border, fleeing gang and sexual violence, abuse, and poverty. The youth who arrive in New York City have pressing medical, mental health, and legal needs. They require housing support, educational advocacy, nutritional assistance, and stable relationships. Many are at risk of becoming homeless, have had interrupted formal education, and may be living with adults or parents they barely know. These youth are all consistently placed in deportation proceedings without the right to an attorney.

Fellowship Highlights

During his Fellowship, Brett:
• Co-founded Terra Firma, a medical-legal partnership designed to provide health care and legal services to unaccompanied immigrant youth
• Represented 50 clients in immigration and associated family court proceedings
• Led a coalition meeting among officials in the New York City departments of Health and Education and the American Academy of Pediatrics on the medical needs of unaccompanied immigrant youth
• Coordinated the first trauma study on the mental health needs of unaccompanied youth with Columbia University

Where are they now?

Brett serves as the legal director of Terra Firma, the medical-legal partnership that he co-founded with Catholic Charities Community Services, Children’s Health Fund, and the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore.

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