Detention, deportation, and the ensuing separation can devastate families and traumatize children. This section presents resources to help child welfare professionals and others better understand the impact of immigration enforcement on children and families in the child welfare system.
Detained or Deported: What About My Children?
Butera, Chou, Jones, & Kelsey (2014)
Women’s Refugee Commission
Provides a toolkit (in English and Spanish) 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 American and Mexican child welfare agencies, and adoption reunion registries as well as a supplement (PDF - 1,695 KB) that addresses recent changes in relevant Federal and State.
Family Preparedness Plan
Immigrant Legal Resource Center (2017)
Supports immigrant families in developing a child care plan in the event that parents are unable to care for their children while facing deportation.
Guidelines for Child Welfare Agencies to Prepare for Immigration Enforcement (PDF - 1,339 KB)
The Center on Immigration and Child Welfare
Provides practical sequential steps that child welfare agencies can take in order to support families affected by immigration enforcement. These recommendations include allowing parents to make alternative care arrangements and clarifying parent rights.
ICE ERO Detention Reporting and Information Line
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
Provides contact information for agency stakeholders who may have questions or concerns for the ICE Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) regarding reports of human trafficking and other crimes, the separation of minor children from their families, and more. The webpage also provides links to download fliers on ERO's toll-free reporting and information line, 888.351.4024, in English (PDF - 571 KB) and Spanish (PDF - 1,180 KB).
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)
Presents the policies and procedures when detaining parents and legal guardians of children, including placement, parent-child visits, 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 - 963 KB)
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (2017)
Provides guidance on the detention and removal of foreign national 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.
American Bar Association
Offers resources that provide guidance on supporting children and youth navigating legal systems as a result of immigration-related issues.
Resources for Families Facing Deportation and Separation
Women’s Refugee Commission (2019)
Provides English- and Spanish-language resources to support families simultaneously navigating both the child welfare and immigration systems.