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.
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.
Detained or Deported: What About My Children?
Women’s Refugee Commission (2019)
Provides a toolkit for immigrant and undocumented parents on protecting their parental rights and navigating the child welfare and court systems. The resource also provides contact information for State child welfare agencies, Central America and Mexico child welfare agencies, and adoption reunion registries. The parental rights toolkit is available in English (PDF - 2,365 KB) and Spanish (PDF - 2,540 KB). A supplement document that addresses recent changes in relevant Federal and State policy is also available (PDF - 1,690 KB).
Disappearing Parents: A Report on Immigration Enforcement and the Child Welfare System (PDF - 686 KB)
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 KB)
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.
ICE ERO Detention Reporting and Information Line
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) (2018)
Provides contact information for agency stakeholders who may have questions or concerns for the Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO). The site also provides links to download fliers on ERO's toll-free reporting and information line, 1-888-351-4024, in English (PDF - 571 KB) and Spanish (PDF - 1,178 KB). Call center representatives are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST to handle questions and concerns regarding reports of human trafficking and other crimes, the separation of minor children from their families or other custodial issues, inquires from the general public and law enforcement officials, and more.
Immigrant Families and Public Child Welfare: Barriers to Services and Approaches for Change Earner
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.
Overview of Policies and Standards: Detained Parents and the Child Welfare System (PDF - 88 KB)
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (2020)
Presents policy and standards to address the apprehension, monitoring, and removal of certain parents or legal guardians in the United States who are not U.S. citizens or nationals while safeguarding their parental rights.
Policies and Procedures Involving Detained Parents and Legal Guardians (PDF - 282 KB)
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (2018)
Offers a factsheet on the policies and procedures when detaining parents and legal guardians of children, including placement, facilitating placement in family or State court proceedings, parent-child visitation, coordinating the care or travel of the child, call center information, and more. The factsheet is also available in Spanish (PDF - 141 KB).
Policy Number 11064.2: Detention and Removal of Alien Parents or Legal Guardians (PDF - 1,577 KB)
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (2017)
Provides guidance on the detention and removal of alien or undocumented parents or legal guardians of children involved in family court or child welfare proceedings, including information on coordinating children's care or travel, visitation requirements, and more.
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.
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.