The Refugee Act of 1980 defines a refugee as any “individual outside his or her country of nationality and who is unable or unwilling to return to that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution, based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.
Refugees legally enter the U.S. in search of freedom, peace, and opportunity for themselves and their families.” Nearly 800 refugees arrive in Philadelphia each year. Approximately 35 percent of them are children.
These children's healthcare needs are the same as, if not more extensive than, any child in the U.S. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Care Network opened a comprehensive health program for refugee children in March 2011, with the objective of ensuring that all refugee children have a healthy start to their life in the U.S.
The CHOP Refugee Health Program collaborates with three nonprofit refugee resettlement agencies to provide high quality health care for refugee children who have recently arrived in the U.S.:
The healthcare needs of refugee children are met by primary care pediatricians, pediatric nurses and social workers from CHOP, and case workers from Philadelphia’s refugee resettlement agencies. The team provides:
CHOP physicians use a comprehensive approach to assess all factors that may impact child health, including migration, education and trauma. The physicians also work to eliminate any health-related barriers that would keep the child from entering school, and helps families find their medical home, be that CHOP or another provider.
The CHOP Refugee Health Program also provides training opportunities for pediatric residents, medical-pediatric residents and medical students. Our educational goal is to teach trainees to effectively and empathetically provide pediatric care for children from diverse linguistic and cultural groups.