Children and families face several challenges that must be considered when supporting their well-being. Specifically, families who have immigrated may face legal barriers to accessing services, child trauma resulting from difficult immigration or refugee experiences, a parent's detention/deportation by immigration authorities, and acculturation and language issues. The foundation of effective practice when working with these families is understanding the complex issues they may face. The resources below support child welfare professionals in expanding their understanding of children and families who have immigrated.
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.
How Can Child Protection Agencies Support Families and Children Who Lack Lawful Immigration Status?
Casey Family Programs (2020)
Discusses considerations for child welfare caseworkers when working with and supporting families and children who lack lawful immigration status. The resource reviews Federal laws that relate to child protection and immigrants, describes common challenges faced when working with immigrant families, and highlights strategies for supporting the needs of this population.
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 - 1,180 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 (U.S.)
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.
Refugee Communities in Minnesota: Updated Information for Child Welfare Professionals in Changing Communities [Training]
Shannon, Carlson, & Molloy (2021)
Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare
Presents information about refugee status and the resettlement process, as well as experiences common among this community. This training also describes strategies that child welfare professionals can implement to effectively partner with refugee families and communities.
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.
What Do Child Welfare Leaders Need to Know About Supporting Families When Caregivers Are Facing Immigration-Enforced Detention or Deportation?
Casey Family Programs (2020)
Discusses situations in which child welfare professionals may encounter a child whose parent or caregiver has been detained or deported and reviews core principles from case law around the intersection of child protection and parental detainment and deportation. The resource also lists several resources for additional information on this topic.