In collaboration with the Center on Immigration and Child Welfare, the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) is pleased to announce a call for papers for a special issue of Child Welfare journal dedicated to issues surrounding the intersection of immigration and child welfare. Much has changed since CWLA published its first special issue related to immigrants and child welfare, and we are eager to build on this ground-breaking work. Of particular interest are manuscripts that employ analysis of data, policies, programs, and practices as they relate to immigration and child welfare in the current political climate.

Although documentation of the experiences of immigrants with the child welfare system has grown over the past decade, there remain many challenges to understanding the risks associated with child welfare system involvement as well as the strengths that may prevent child maltreatment in this population.  Additionally, the current administration has changed immigration enforcement priorities that previously safeguarded many parents, families, and long-time residents whose only violation was living in the country without documentation. Enforcement now targets a much larger group of immigrants for deportation. These actions have brought a renewed urgency to examining the well-being of children in those families that are affected and what consequences they may face. Potentially dire repercussions may be felt by the child welfare system as well as by communities where these families live.

This volatile and unpredictable political climate creates uncertainties about policies and protections for children of immigrants implemented over the past decade and whether they will remain in place. Changing immigration laws may create ambiguity in the child welfare role in promoting children’s best interests and may impede the ability of child welfare agencies to provide effective services to this population. Given the complexity of these cases, child welfare agencies and the supportive services surrounding them must be equipped to effectively respond to the unique needs of children in families who are immigrants to promote positive outcomes of safety, permanency, and well-being.

Manuscripts using various methods (e.g., case studies, quantitative analyses, policy analyses) are welcomed. Guest editors are Megan Finno-Velasquez, PhD, New Mexico State University, and Alan J. Dettlaff, PhD, University of Houston. Of particular interest are manuscripts that examine the following:

  • The needs, experiences, and outcomes of children and families who are immigrants involved with the child welfare system
  • The development and implementation of promising practices and their outcomes
  • Analysis of state and/or federal policies and their impact on child welfare outcomes.
  • The effect of changing immigration policies on children of immigrants and implications for the child welfare system
  • Challenges to preventing child maltreatment in immigrant communities and strategies for engaging immigrants in preventive and supportive services
  • Local initiatives aimed at protecting children and families who are immigrants from separation, including sanctuary movements
  • Challenges for unaccompanied immigrant children and risks for child welfare system involvement
  • Innovative training or workforce initiatives to improve cultural competence with  children and families who are immigrants
  • Community-based, multi-disciplinary approaches or transnational collaborations to promote well-being for children of immigrants and improve child welfare outcomes

Manuscripts are welcomed from scholars and practitioners and will be selected to ensure an array of perspectives based on factors such as relevant policy, advocacy, topic, and method. Preference will be given to those manuscripts with the most rigorous methods and analysis presented.

Prospective authors should submit abstracts of up to 750 words to Child Welfare’s managing editor, Rachel Adams, at by February 23, 2018. Abstracts should identify the topic, methods (including data sources for empirical papers),findings, and practice and policy implications. Additionally, authors should use person-first language in the abstracts. Authors will receive decisions about their manuscripts by March 16. Initial drafts of the selected papers are due by May 18 and final papers are expected by July 27. Publication of the special issue is targeted for December 2018.​