Data on the immigration status of parents are not collected uniformly across child welfare systems for a number of reasons, including some States not collecting data, different definitions of "immigrant," and some families being reluctant to report their immigration status out of fear of government systems. While there are gaps in knowledge, national databases such as the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being provide some of what is known about these families. Find resources in this section to help child welfare workers better understand immigrant families and relevant law and policies.
Children of Immigrants Data Tool
Urban Institute (2012)
Provides searchable data related to the demographics of immigrant children, including child, parent, and family characteristics.
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 - 1,690 KB) that addresses recent changes in relevant Federal and State.
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). The webpage also provides fliers on ERO's toll-free reporting and information line, 888.351.4024, in English (PDF - 571 KB) and Spanish (PDF - 1,178 KB).
Child Trends (2018)
Provides data on immigrant children, including country of origin, poverty status, and family structure.
Immigrant Families and Child Welfare Systems: Emerging Needs and Promising Policies
Greenberg, Capps, Kalweit, Grishkin, & Flagg (2019)
Migration Policy Institute
Compares a variety of State and local approaches to working with immigrant families and describes an integrative approach.
Living in an Immigrant Family in America: How Fear and Toxic Stress Are Affecting Daily Life, Well-Being, & Health
Artiga & Ubri (2017)
Kaiser Family Foundation
Presents results from focus groups designed to assess how immigration policies may affect lawfully present and undocumented immigrants and immigrant families.
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Child Welfare Information Gateway
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 - 1,577 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.
National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Provides information about the accurate identification, assessment, and treatment of trauma associated with refugee migration in order to support professionals serving this population.