This spring, a Grove City College junior and her professor will be examining how well on-the-ground practices related to unaccompanied minors match the federal government’s aim of providing minimally restrictive and developmentally appropriate care.
While policies and practices related to children under 18 who do not have lawful status in the U.S. and come to the border without a parent or guardian are often lumped into policy debates about the border crisis, unaccompanied minors are a distinct and highly vulnerable population due to their age and disconnection from trustworthy adults.
Megan Brock ’25, a Social Work major from Renfrew, Pa., and Dr. Lisa Hosack, associate professor of Social Work and assistant dean of the Calderwood School of Arts and Letters, will conduct the student-faculty research with the support of the Center for Public Justice, a nonpartisan, Christian organization engaged in public policy development and civic education.
The pair were awarded the Hatfield Prize by the Center to conduct the research based on a proposal penned by Brock. The Hatfield Prize awards funding to three student-faculty pairs to conduct research on a social policy that impacts the well-being of children, families, and communities. The prize includes a $5,000 award for Brock and $1,500 for Hosack.
They plan to examine data and conduct interviews about the status and care of unaccompanied minors who are temporarily housed in the Pittsburgh area. The Center for Public Justice intends to publish their findings.
“Dr. Hosack and I intend to explore whether current practices minimize the potential for further trauma, provide the least restrictive environment, and efficiently move children from a residential facility to the home of a properly-vetted sponsor.
Brock said they hope to form policy and practice recommendations that “reflect the generosity and expansiveness of God’s character by seeking the peace and well-being of every person.”
“We are grateful for this opportunity and excited to more deeply understand a population of great interest to both Megan and I,” Hosack said. “Beyond this, it’s noteworthy that faith-based non-profit agencies lead this effort in the Pittsburgh region and we’re eager to highlight the work they are already doing.”
“We believe that Megan and Lisa’s research exploring the public policies that impact unaccompanied minors in Pittsburgh will be incredibly timely and that their Christian scholarship will add an important perspective to the conversation around immigration and resettlement policy,” said Emily Fromke Crouch, Shared Justice program director for the Center for Public Justice.
The Hatfield Prize is named for the late U.S. Sen. Mark O. Hatfield of Oregon, who was known for integrating his Christian faith with his public policy commitments.