The Center on Immigration and Child Welfare (CICW), formerly the Migration and Child Welfare National Network (MCWNN), is in the process of issuing a series of seven policy papers on a number of critical child welfare and immigration issues.  The CICW is focused on programs and policies related to immigrant children and families involved in the public child welfare system. CICW conducts and provides research, policy and practice recommendations.

The first policy issued last month, Memorandum of Understanding with Foreign Consulates describes what is involved when a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is created between a state or local government and a foreign country.  An official agreement between a state child welfare agency and a foreign consulate can help with the coordinating of services and contacts between governments when a foreign national child is involved with child welfare system in the United States.  For example, child welfare policy requires notification of relatives when a child is taken into protective services but that challenge becomes greater when the family is in another country. MOUs are also important to future reunification and placement decisions. Some states are especially challenged if they are a boarder state.

The second paper, the Placement of Children with Parents or Relatives in a Foreign Country, provides greater detail on placements of children into another country.  Issues that arise include international home studies before placement, obtaining key documents such as birth certificates and coordination of services through child welfare and foreign government representatives.

The policy brief series, Emerging Policies to Address the Needs of Immigrant Children and Families in the Child Welfare System, will consist of seven papers and will focus on a set of child welfare policies that have been developed to address the unique needs of immigrant children and families.  The papers come from a an analysis of child welfare policies in 46 California counties, conducted in collaboration with the California Department of Social Services and the California Child Welfare Indicators Project at the University of California at Berkeley.