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Migration Policy Institute Podcasts

MPI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank dedicated to the study of the movement of people worldwide.

Children of Immigrants and Child Welfare Systems: Key Policy and Practice

Posted by migrationpolicy on April 23rd, 2019

Like other children, those born to immigrants can enter into a state’s child welfare system when there are reports of abuse or neglect by a parent or other caretaker.  Children with unauthorized immigrant parents may also intersect with the system if U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests, detains, or deports a parent.

The increased numbers of children of immigrants in the United States (the vast majority U.S. born), along with developments in immigration policy and enforcement, have important implications for state and local child welfare agencies. Some jurisdictions have responded by developing specialized policies and practices, but there are significant variations around the country. To better understand state and local child welfare systems’ policies and practices for working with immigrant families, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) and the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) conducted discussions with administrators in 21 states and counties and reviewed relevant literature.

This webinar showcases the release of an MPI report, drawn from this research, that describes key policy issues for child welfare agencies and promising agency approaches. During this webinar, report authors MPI's Mark Greenberg and Ann Flagg of American Public Human Services Association, provide an overview of issues of intersection between immigration and child welfare systems and describe their findings regarding child welfare policies and practices to address the needs of children of immigrants and their families. Director of Georgia's Division of Family and Children Services Tom C. Rawlings and Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services Deputy Director Roberta Medina also share their perspectives and discuss key issues they are facing, and the report authors discuss their recommendations, with examples relating to organizational structure, training, language access, licensing of providers, screenings for immigration-status issues, interactions with foreign governments, and more.

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