Table of Contents: The Intersection of Immigration and Child Welfare

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Volume 96, Number 5

State Immigration Enforcement Policies and Material Hardship for Immigrant Families
Julia Gelatt, Heather Koball, and Hamutal Bernstein
Using data from 2005–2010, the United States’ last period of intensive immigration enforcement, this article explores how uptake of state policies facilitating participation in federal immigration enforcement shapes the material hardship of noncitizen immigrant households. We find that as states increased cooperation in immigration enforcement efforts, several dimensions of material hardship increased for unauthorized and legal immigrant households. Household earned income also decreased. Given prior evidence showing the negative effects of material hardship on children’s development, these findings have implications for immigrant family well-being and children’s welfare in today’s enforcement climate.

Detached and Afraid: U.S. Immigration Policy and the Practice of Forcibly Separating Parents and Young Children at the Border
Benjamin J. Roth, Thomas M. Crea, Jayshree Jani, Dawnya Underwood, Robert G. Hasson III, Kerri Evans, Michael Zuch, and Emily Hornung
A growing number of families immigrating to the United States from Central America are being separated at the border, including parents of children who are under age 6. We explore what happens to these children once they are separated from their families by examining the nature of the services and programs provided while they are in transitional foster care. We then draw preliminary conclusions about the emerging impact of family separation on outcomes for these children.

Unraveling Disparities in Child Neglect Risk between Hispanics who are Immigrants and those Born in the United States: A Social-Ecological Approach Using Structural Equation Modeling
Michelle Johnson-Motoyama and Wei Wu
In this article, we extend prior research, using a social-ecologic framework, by testing explanations for disparities in the prevalence of neglect among young Hispanic children of immigrants and children of Hispanic caregivers who were born in the United States. We analyze population-based sample drawn from 50 California cities (n = 311) using structural equation models. Lower educational levels and social support among parents who are immigrants explain the effects of birthplace on child neglect risk; neighborhood collective efficacy and ethnic density moderate these relationships.

Parental Detention and Deportation in Child Welfare Cases
Prudence Beidler Carr
This article provides an analysis of themes that have emerged from 15 years of child welfare case law in which parental detention or deportation has been a factor. For example, the article reviews the connection between deportation and termination of parental rights, reasonable efforts for parents who have been detained or deported, the standard of living in another country as a factor in best interests analyses, and options for facilitating a detained or deported parent’s participation in child welfare court proceedings. Certain rules emerge from this body of existing case law that provide guiding principles for child welfare agencies, caseworkers and courts as they try to address the range of situations where a parent’s retention or deportation may have implications for child welfare proceedings.

Promising Practices and Policies to Support Grandfamilies that Include Immigrants
Ana Beltran and Cristina Ritchie Cooper
More than 2.6 million children are being raised in the United States by grandparents, other relatives, and close family friends with no parent in the household. These “grandfamilies” or “kinship families” face particular obstacles to accessing fundamental services and support when the relative caregivers and/or children are immigrants. This article will begin with a discussion of grandfamilies affected by immigration issues and their strengths and challenges. It will then offer concrete ways that child welfare and other agencies can continue to help stabilize these grandfamilies by becoming familiar with available resources and advocating to remove barriers to accessing those services and supports.

Volume 96, Number 6

Working across Borders: Effective Permanency Practices at the Intersection of Child Welfare and Immigration
Jorge Cabrera, Yvonne Humenay Roberts, Ada Lopez, Leo Lopez, Ana Zepeda, Robin Sanchez, Carol Punske, George Gonzalez, Maria Nuño, Lily Garay-Castro, Iris Lopez, Terri Aguilera-Flemming, and Yoshimi Pelczarski
Children and families involved in the child welfare system and affected by immigration issues are among the most vulnerable populations. Casey Family Programs’ direct services arm has developed promising practices to effectively support legal and relational permanency work with these families. Applying an implementation science framework, this article provides a descriptive case study of international immigration program implementation. Based on input from field office staff, we identified lessons learned from the common successes (e.g., relationship building, work with consulates, transnational practice) and challenges (e.g., detention and deportation, language barriers, workforce development) in implementing policies and practices aimed at improving outcomes for children and families at the intersection of immigration and child welfare. The hope is that these insights will inform other organizations as they look to implement policies and practices aimed at improving outcomes for these children and families.

A Pathway to Permanency: Collaborating for the Futures of Children who are Immigrants in the Child Welfare System
Joanne Gottesman, Randi Mandelbaum, and Meredith Pindar
This article examines a unique statewide collaboration between Rutgers Law School and the New Jersey Department of Children and Families to provide immigration legal services to children in foster care. As the Project enters its third year, the authors examine the reasons why the collaboration was launched. They then describe the structure and staffing of the Project, including the development of case referral and management systems. The data collected over two years and included in the article provides a snapshot of services offered to children who are immigrants and in the foster care system. Finally, the authors reflect on the lessons learned and share insights with others interested in launching similar projects.

Exploring the Needs of Children and Families who are Immigrants and Involved in Child Welfare: Using a Title IV-E Learning Community Model
Robin Hernandez-Mekonnen and Dawn Konrady
This article discusses a novel approach to prepare child welfare professionals to serve families who are immigrants and are involved in the child welfare system. We present a case study using a Title IV-E Child Welfare Training partnership to expose child welfare supervisors to current immigration issues, identify and address the challenges faced by families who are immigrants, and the challenges in acquiring and providing appropriate services. This case study builds on prior work to advance practice with families who are immigrants via educational frameworks.

Supporting Youth at the Intersection of Immigration and Child Welfare Systems
Alexandra Citrin, Megan Martin, and Shadi Houshyar
Young people at the intersection of child welfare and immigration face significant challenges to successfully transitioning to adulthood and independence from foster care. This transition is made even more difficult in light of current immigration policies and an anti-immigrant political climate. This paper highlights systemic barriers for youth who are immigrants and aging out of foster care and provides recommendations for states and child welfare systems to better meet the needs of this population.

Outcomes for Youth Served by the Unaccompanied Refugee Minor Foster Care Program: A Pilot Study
Kerri Evans, Morgan Pardue-Kim, Thomas M. Crea, Lindsay Coleman, Kylie Diebold, and Dawnya Underwood
The Unaccompanied Refugee Minor (URM) Foster Care Program annually serves about 1,300 foreign-born youth with legal eligibility. This paper shows results from a cross-sectional, descriptive pilot study (n = 30 interviews) in the domains of education, employment, health, mental health, risky behaviors, and social connections. Results show that most URM youth (86.7%) had graduated from high school, 50.0% were in college, and 86.7% were employed. Many youth (60%) reported being in optimal health, 76.7% were happy, and 96.7% had a positive outlook for the future. Most URMs (83.3%) had a best friend, and 70.0% had people to talk to when feeling low, however 76.7% (n = 23) worried about being abandoned. Additionally, one URM reported engaging in multiple risky behaviors. Comparisons are made to youth in foster care who were born in the United States and show for example, that URMs are enrolled in higher education and satisfied with foster care services at statistically significant higher rates—but that they are insured at significantly lower levels than domestic youth exiting foster care. Future research is needed to examine economic security for young adults who are refugees and immigrants. Longitudinal research is also needed to see how independent living skills are developed and utilized over time. URMs could benefit from some contact with case managers or foster care alumni after discharge.

 Well-Being and Permanency: The Relevance of Child Welfare Principles for Children Who are Unaccompanied Immigrants
Adam Avrushin and Maria Vidal de Haymes
This study examines the experience of children who are unaccompanied immigrants and their families living in the Chicago metropolitan area from the perspective of the legal and human service professionals that accompany them. The government and community-based response to these young people are examined in context of child welfare principles that promote the best interest of the child. Findings suggest that children, irrespective of the system with which they are involved, would benefit from the application of the foundational principles of the best interest of the child, safety, well-being, and permanency.

 

 

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