Immigration Enforcement and Child Welfare
Detention, deportation, and the ensuing separation can devastate families and traumatize children. Find resources in this section to help understand the impact of immigration enforcement on children and families in the child welfare system. Resources include State and local examples.
Shattered Families: The Perilous Intersection of Immigration Enforcement and the Child Welfare System
Applied Research Center
Explores the extent to which children in foster care are prevented from uniting with their detained or deported parents and the challenges facing the child welfare system in working to reunify these families. Also available in Spanish (PDF - 404 KB).
Children in Harm's Way: Criminal Justice, Immigration Enforcement, and Child Welfare
Phillips, Cervantes, Lincroft, Dettlaff, & Bruce (Eds.) (2013)
Sentencing Project & First Focus
Includes articles written by leading scholars, policy analysts, and practitioners about a subgroup of children whose parents are affected by the interplay of the criminal justice, child welfare, and immigration enforcement systems.
Disappearing Parents: A Report on Immigration Enforcement and the Child Welfare System
University of Arizona
Discusses the findings of a study that explored the impact of immigration enforcement practices on children who have been separated from their detained parents. This report includes recommendations for Federal reforms, including effective assistance of counsel in child welfare proceedings, a key liaison in Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities, and detention reform.
Facing Our Future: Children in the Aftermath of Immigration Enforcement (PDF - 1,229
Chaudry, Capps, Pedroza, Castañeda, Santos, & Scott (2010)
The Urban Institute
Examines the consequences of parental arrest, detention, and deportation. This report provides recommendations for stakeholders to mitigate the harmful effects of immigration enforcement on children.
Immigration Enforcement: Considerations for Child Welfare Systems (PDF - 243 KB)
Judges' Page Newsletter, February 2008
Reviews the factors affecting permanency planning for children separated from their parents through immigration enforcement proceedings.
Immigrant Families and Public Child Welfare: Barriers to Services and Approaches for Change
Child Welfare, 86(4), 2011
Describes the results of two focus groups of immigrant parents who recently experienced child protective investigations in New York City. The article provides recommendations for addressing identified barriers to culturally competent service.
The Impact of Immigration Enforcement on Child Welfare (PDF - 418 KB)
Cervantes & Lincroft (2010)
First Focus & Migration and Child Welfare National Network
Analyzes the impact of immigration enforcement on children and State child welfare agencies. This report recommends reforms for improving child and family well-being by keeping children with their families and out of the child welfare system whenever possible while enforcing immigration law.
Maintaining Parental Rights During Immigration Enforcement Actions and Detention: Summary Report (PDF - 213 KB)
Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, Women's Refugee Commission, & Applied Research Center (2010)
Discusses how to maintain parental rights during immigration enforcement proceedings. This report provides an overview of recommendations for next steps.
Torn Apart by Immigration Enforcement: Parental Rights and Immigration Detention (PDF - 2,478 KB)
Women's Refugee Commission
Discusses challenges to parental rights and family preservation faced by undocumented parents at the time of their apprehension, detention, and deportation.
State and Local Examples
Protecting Your Parental Rights: A Resource for Immigrant Detainees With Child Custody Issues in Arizona (PDF - 2,929 KB)
Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project (2010)
Provides information on different types of abuse, factors that may trigger child protective services (CPS) involvement, and what should be done if CPS removes children from their home.