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Programs in Seed Grants

Implementation, feasibility, and effectiveness of a novel community-based social service navigation program for newcomer immigrant children and families

Photo by Andrew Ebrahim on Unsplash

In recent years, unprecedented numbers of children and families have arrived in the U.S. On top of the numerous social, educational, health, and financial challenges they face, many immigrant children experience unaddressed trauma and fear of deportation. Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County designed the Footsteps Initiative to support connections to integrated housing, legal, healthcare, and social services for immigrant communities in the area. The program applies a trauma-informed lens and uses service guides — trained workers from the community — to help families navigate the services available to them in a seamless way. Footsteps service guides establish stable working relationships with families to support them in their path towards community integration and self-sufficiency. Stanford researchers will work closely with Catholic Charities to evaluate the implementation, feasibility, and effectiveness of the Footsteps program. Through quantitative evaluations of program data and qualitative interviews with clients and staff, they aim to improve the program and highlight the importance of trauma-informed  navigation supports that promote cross-disciplinary service coordination for new immigrant children and families.

Global Health Faculty Fellow Dr. Nancy Ewen Wang said the project addresses global health concerns at a local level. “We need new models to not only provide resources to, but also leverage the strengths, of unaccompanied and newcomer immigrant children and their families —  to help them integrate into sponsor countries and create vibrant new lives”.

Principal Investigators:

Ryan Matlow, PhD, Clinical Associate Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Shazeen Suleman, MD, MPH, Clinical Associate Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics

Nancy Ewen Wang, MD, Professor Emeritus, Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine


Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County


Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health, Stanford Health Care Health Equity Program