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2nd National Forum

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2nd National Forum – The Intersection of Immigration and Child Welfare: Emerging Issues and Implications

Interagency Cooperation: Collaboration as Best Practice

Participants discussed case scenarios, provided by International Social Service – USA and Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services, that involve an essential interagency component. Case examples included refugee or asylum applications, family reunification, intercountry custody and home-study issues. The cases involved individuals or families in need of a range of resources from a wide variety of agencies. Specific attention was given to how agencies can collaborate with each other across disciplines to resolve complex cross-border issues.

Download the session PowerPoint and handouts
Download the Immigrant Legal Resource Center Youth Handbook.


Advanced Legal Issues on the Intersection of Immigration and Child Welfare Law 

Safety, permanency and well-being are three conceptual measures built into today’s child welfare law and practice. How can these principles be applied on behalf of undocumented children in need of child welfare agency services and to the immigration proceedings they face? How might child welfare agencies better identify and help address immigration issues affecting abused, neglected and abandoned children? How can immigration attorneys and child welfare attorneys effectively collaborate in connection with juvenile court and immigration proceedings affecting the same children? This session examined these and related issues and provided information on advanced resources useful to child welfare workers, lawyers and others who work in both “systems.”

Download the session PowerPoint and handouts.
Download the Roles and Responsibilities of Guardians for Unaccompanied and Separated Immigrant, Migrant, and Refugee Children from the Immigrant Child Advocacy Center, Chicago


Opening Presentation: Family Engagement and Permanency Planning Across the Border: A Case Study

This session highlighted important issues, lessons learned and key practices related to the case of a 15-year-old foster youth and the work resulting in reconnection and reunification prospects with his family in Mexico. The case study also included reflections on promising practices in San Diego County and collaborations between Casey Family Programs and the Child Welfare Services Office of the International Liaison. Participants gained a broader understanding of some of the transnational, socioeconomic, cultural and linguistic considerations involved in this and other cases involving permanency planning across borders.

Download the session PowerPoint and handouts.


Panel Session: What We Know About Immigrant Children and Families in the Child Welfare System: The Current State of Research Knowledge

In this session, leading national experts on the intersection of immigration and child welfare discussed the current state of empirical knowledge concerning immigrant children and families who have come to the attention of child welfare systems. The panelists presented the results from recent national, state and local studies, and discussed the needs and direction for future research. Implications for using this research to inform practice were also presented.

Download the session PowerPoint and handouts.
Download the policy brief Addressing Barriers on the Path to Self-Sufficiency, on CALWORKS Safety Net and Sanction Cases developed by the Child and Family Policy Institute of California


Panel Session: The Future Federal Policy Landscape and State Child Welfare Law Changes

This session explored federal immigration and child welfare legislative developments that could occur between mid-2008 and the end of 2009 and that could positively affect immigrant children and families in need of child protection and child welfare services. It also examined an agenda for potential changes of state child welfare laws and regulations that would enhance service provision to immigrant children and families.

Download the session notes.


Joining Forces: Ensuring the Safety and Well-Being of Immigrant Children:

The National Forum included a joint session with the National Immigrant Justice Center and the Immigrant Children Lawyers Network, which brought together professionals from the legal community and child welfare agencies to focus on issues that affect them both within the arena of immigration and child welfare. Over the past year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has intensified immigration enforcement activities by conducting several large-scale worksite raids across the country. From an in-depth study of three communities, this report details the impact of these raids on the well-being of children. The report provides detailed recommendations to a variety of stakeholders to help mitigate the harmful effects of worksite raids on children.

Download Paying the Price: The Impact of Immigration Raids on America’s Children, a report by the Urban Institute for the National Council of La Raza


Socratic Dialogue

The Socratic dialogue format uses a hypothetical case history and a cross-disciplinary team of panelists who discuss how they would act in complicated situations when the “right” choices are not clear. The moderator brought up interwoven ethical, legal and public policy issues and encouraged panelists and the audience to explore complex, vital issues, including the quality of representation in the juvenile system; the value of collaborative courts; and the ethical obligations of defense counsel, prosecutors, judges and child welfare workers to provide services to a vulnerable population. This presentation reviewed a case scenario to demonstrate the various perspectives and issues that come into play when an immigrant child enters the child welfare system.

Download the Socratic dialogue scenarios.