Emily Norman is a Managing Attorney at KIND’s Hartford office. Prior to joining the Hartford team, Emily worked in KIND’s New York office as a Supervising Attorney, leading a team of attorneys and paralegals dedicated to providing services to children detained in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Emily also has experience representing children in removal proceedings and filing applications for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and asylum. Previously, Emily worked for the Institute for Women in Migration (IMUMI), a nonprofit organization in Mexico City providing legal services to deported and returned migrant women and their children. At IMUMI, Emily represented clients applying for U Visas and VAWA petitions. She also assisted with transnational custody cases due to family separation after deportation. Before becoming an attorney, Emily taught middle school history in the Bronx. Emily is a graduate of Harvard Law School, the Graduate School of Education at Fordham University, and the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University. She is a member of the Massachusetts bar and is fluent in Spanish.
Bio coming soon!
Yessenia Bernal Turpo
Yessenia Bernal Turpo is part of the Detained Program at Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). She joined KIND in April of 2023 as a Senior Paralegal for KIND’s Hartford Office. Prior to joining KIND, Yessenia served as DOJ accredited senior legal case worker for the Unaccompanied Detained Children’s Program for the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI) in Connecticut. During her time at CIRI, Yessenia provided legal services to detained immigrant children and assisted CIRI’s legal representatives with the filing of humanitarian visas applications. Before CIRI, Yessenia worked at Catholic Charities Diocese of Norwich as a Case Manager serving families in need. Yessenia is a Peruvian Attorney with an LLM in U.S. Legal Studies from UCONN School of Law. Yessenia has experience working with immigrants who experience trauma and victims of human trafficking. She is fluent in English and Spanish, and intermediate level Portuguese. She is interested in advocating for vulnerable communities and social justice.
Lupita Amaro is a Paralegal at Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), where she provides legal support to KIND’s Boston Office. Prior to joining KIND, Lupita served as a legal intern supporting children in immigration removal proceedings at Project Libertad in Pennsylvania. During her time at Project Libertad, Lupita provided legal support to refugees, immigrant children and other immigrants in their applications for a wide range of immigration benefits. Lupita has also interned and volunteered at various organizations such as Congregation Mita Incorporated in Colombia and the United States. Lupita holds a B.A in Political Science from Politecnico Gran Colombiano. She also holds an LLM in Human Rights and Social Justice from the University of Connecticut School of Law. She advocates for children’s rights, immigration reform, and social justice. Lupita’s work has always been guided by her core principles of hope, equal justice, and freedom for all people.
Bio coming soon!
Social Services Supervisor
Desiree Balbuena joins KIND in July 2023 as Social Services Supervisor for the Hartford Office. Having moved from the Dominican Republic at age 15, Desiree brings over 20 years of combined social work experience working with children and vulnerable families in several roles. As a teen adapting to the US, she took ESOL classes and played varsity sports in High School. She is passionate to support vulnerable populations. Desiree has supported diverse teams as a clinical supervisor, social worker, and case manager. Her expertise includes interventions for 0-5 clients, High School counseling, immigrant families including unaccompanied/reunifying minors, and women in vulnerable relationships. In addition to managing staff, she has extensive experience navigating child-protective services. Clinically, she has engaged families in trauma-informed services including in dyadic programming for parents/children, play therapy, individual and family therapy, group therapy, motivational interview, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Desiree is a native Spanish speaker, and holds a master’s in social work and a bachelor’s in social work from Herbert Lehman College, and an associate’s degree in Liberal Arts from Bronx Community College. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW). She enjoys sports, dancing and listening to music, and spending her free time doing activities with her family.
Senior Social Services Coordinator
Bio coming soon!