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Immigrant Children and Child Welfare: Demographics, Research, Policy, Legislation and Practice 34 th National Child Welfare, Juvenile, and Family Law Conference, August 2011 Presented by: Sonia C. Velázquez, NACC Board Member, and Founder of the Immigration and Child Welfare National Network, and Ken Borelli, Former Child Welfare Director, Santa Clara County, California
Outline PART I Ø Problems impacting immigrant children in child welfare Ø Birth of the Migration and Child Welfare Network Ø Results from 2006 to date: Ø Research and findings Ø Policy changes Ø Training Ø Practice tools and models Ø Advocacy efforts Ø Transnational initiatives Ø Immigration issues informing CW services:
Outline PART II Ø Getting back to basics: What is “reasonable” in the reasonable efforts impacting immigrants in child welfare Ø Successful family outcomes for immigrant populations in child welfare Ø Introducing immigration realities to the dynamics of the case at hand Ø Three major Child Welfare concepts: Reasonable Efforts, Concurrency, and Permanency/ILP Ø The reality of services Ø Navigating the child welfare process Ø Judicial oversight and leadership
Loss of Child Protection? Ø Children not accessing services Ø Children not eligible or perceived not eligible Ø Children horrendously impacted by immigration raids Ø Inhumane treatment of families at deportation Ø Frequent loss of child identity and culture when removed Ø Criminalizing immigrant youth by “gang” activity and immediate deportation Ø Loss of family connections Ø Effects of linguistic isolation of family on children Ø Family needs not considered or met
Loss of Ability to Protect? Ø Lack of awareness, skills, and knowledge by child welfare agencies and workers on immigration issues ØAbsence of emerging practices and practice models that could strengthen immigrant families ØChild welfare workers sometimes targeted or prosecuted ØIs the immigration status of a child in care considered when determining a case plan? ØTo what extent do child welfare and immigration professionals collaborate? ØDoes child welfare participate in services for unaccompanied children and refugees? ØTransnational resources that remain untapped
Migration: A Critical issue for Child Welfare* (A seminal paper) Ø Social work with children and families in America inextricably linked with the history of immigration to the United States Ø At the end of the 19 th century, concerns on child well being were focused on poor European immigrants Ø Are the “American Dream” values sustained by society nowadays? Ø More than a century later, a second peak of immigration adds to the mix racial, cultural, language differences Ø ¼ of all children and youth in the US either foreign born or foreign born parents Ø Impact of migration and implications for child welfare Ø Latino parenting styles and expectations of children * Velazquez, Vidal, Mindell 2006, Protecting Children, Volume 21, 2, 2006
Demographics: Authorized and Unauthorized Immigrants and Refugees Unauthorized immigrants (11. 1 million) 30% Refugees (2. 6 million) 7% Legal temporary residents (1. 3 million) 3% Naturalized citizens (11. 5 million) 31% 37 Legal permanent residents (LPR) (10. 5 million) 28% * million foreign-born in 2005 (Passel 2006)
Demographics: Most Children of Immigrants are U. S. Born Citizens 73. 9 Million Children in 2005 (March 2005 Population Survey)
Migratory Trends: Immigrant Population Growth by Three Groups of Destination States Immigration Destination Categories 6 Main Destination States (67% of Immigrants in 2000 22 New Growth States (1990 -2000 > 91%) Top 10 Growth States 1990 -2000 (135 -274%) Source: Randy Capps, Urban Institute, 2006
Latest Data on Growth of Immigrant Population per State Ø Among new-destination states, South Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee had the fastest growing immigrant populations during the first decade of the 21 st Century. South Carolina experienced 77 percent growth, while both Alabama and Tennessee had 67 percent growth. Ø The rest of the new-destination states experienced the following rates of growth: Delaware, 65 percent; Arkansas, 63 percent; South Dakota, 61 percent; Nevada, 60 percent; Georgia, 59 percent; Kentucky, 59 percent; North Carolina, 55 percent; Wyoming, 53 percent; Idaho, 52 percent; Indiana, 51 percent; and Mississippi, 49 percent. ACS/Census Data tool on the MPI Data Hub
Level of Activity of State Legislation Related to Immigration and Immigrants in 2005 -2011 Years and Number of Bills in the States 2005 300 2006 570 2007 1562 2008 1305 2009 1500+ 2010 1400+ 2011 1592 (@ 6 months) Source: National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 2011
State laws related to immigration have increased dramatically in recent years Ø In 2005, 300 bills were introduced, 39 laws were enacted and six were vetoed. Ø In 2006, 570 bills were introduced, 72 were enacted, six were vetoed, and 12 resolutions were adopted for a total of 84. Ø In 2007, 1, 562 bills were introduced, 178 were enacted, 12 were vetoed, and 50 resolutions were adopted for a total of 228. Ø In 2008, 1, 305 bills were introduced, 139 laws were enacted, three were vetoed, and 64 resolutions adopted for a total of 203. Ø In 2009, more than 1, 500 bills were introduced, 202 laws were enacted, 20 were vetoed, and 131 resolutions adopted for a total of 333. Ø In 2010, more than 1, 400 bills were introduced, 208 laws were enacted, 10 were vetoed, and 138 resolutions were adopted for a total of 346 Source: National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 2011
Child Welfare and the Challenges of New Americans* • Latino children continue to be the most uninsured racial and ethnic group in the United States • Young children of immigrants are less likely to receive public benefits such as food stamps, temporary assistance, or child care • Child welfare needs to consider linguistic and cultural factors , as well as legal, social welfare and civil and human rights. * Velazquez, Earner, Lincroft, 2007, Children’s Voice, CWLA
Unique Challenges for Immigrant Families in the Child Welfare System* “I came to this country to give my children a better life, but all they see is someone who doesn’t speak English, who doesn’t know anything. They think we don’t care about our families. They took my daughter and did nothing to help me. ” “A caseworker who did not speak Chinese came to the house”, explains an immigrant mother. “I sent my daughter to talk to her; I thought she was a missionary. All my daughter said was that she would call me back. I later found out the school had reported me for abuse because I punished my daughter for misbehaving. No one ever explained what was going on to me, only to my daughter. ” * Interview with Velazquez, Lincroft, 2009, Voice Magazine, CFS
Emerging Issues at the Intersection of Immigration and Child Welfare: Results from a Transnational Research and Policy Forum* Immigration and Child Welfare Goals of: Safety, Permanency, and Wellbeing Ø Research: population, needs, practices Ø Workforce and Training: Understanding well-being, acculturation, immigration, complexity of cases and workload, familiarity with policies, bicultural staff Ø Cross-System Collaboration: immigration law and child welfare, law enforcement and child protection, mental health and educational needs, family supports, and collaboration across countries Ø Policy and Advocacy: unable to safely maintain children in their homes, threats to permanency, families afraid of accessing benefits * Dettlaff, Vidal, Velazquez, Mindell, Bruce, Child Welfare, 2009, CWLA
Statement by the Participants at the Migration: A Critical Issue for Child Welfare, 2006 Transnational Research and Policy Forum convened by the American Humane Association, Chicago, 2006 “Child welfare services should be available to all children regardless of immigration status” “Federal, state, and local policies encourage full integration of immigrant families into US society through an expanded delivery of child welfare services” Velazquez, Protecting Children Journal, American Humane Association, Volume 22, 2, 2007
Children of Immigrants and Latino Children of Immigrants in the Child Welfare System: Findings from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW)* Nationally representative sample of children who were subjects of reports of maltreatment to child protective services agencies between 1999 and 2000 Children living in an in-home setting with a biological parent Ø 64% children had a parent who was US-born Ø 36% children had a parent who was foreign-born Ø Latino children with a foreign-born parent comprise 5. 2% of all children involved with the child welfare system Ø Among Latino children of immigrants, 4 out of 5 are US-born. Dettlaff, Earner, 2009, Research funded by Migration and Child Welfare National Network
Latino Children of Immigrants Parent and Family Risk Factors Dettlaff, Earner, 2009; Migration and Child Welfare National Network
Latino Children of Immigrants Neighborhood and Community Factors Dettlaff, Earner, 2009, Migration and Child Welfare National Network
Implications of Findings Ø Assessment of strengths and protective factors Ø Elements that facilitate service delivery Ø Natural networks of care Ø Importance of assessing risk factors Ø Impact of immigration and acculturation Ø How public policies affect ability to function Detlaff, Earner, 2009, Migration and Child Welfare National Network
A Social Worker’s Toolkit for Working with Immigrant Families* Ø Healing the Damage: Trauma and Immigrant Families in the Child Welfare System, Cohen, September 2010 Ø A Child Welfare Flowchart to Working with Immigration Professionals, Borelli, Lincroft, 2009 Ø Summary of Immigration Relief Options for Youth in Dependency Proceedings, Borelli, Lincroft, 2009 Ø Screening Questions to Determine Potential Avenues for Legal Status, Borelli, 2009 Ø Glossary of Immigration Terms, Migration and Child Welfare National Network, 2009 - 2010
MIGRATION AND CHILD WELFARE -GETTING BACK TO BASICS » Or determining what is "reasonable" in reasonable efforts services. By Ken Borelli
Getting Back to Basics is: Ø Critical in today's economic arena. Ø Many projects / best practice models are agency elective services - and highly vulnerable. Ø Many child welfare agencies are confronted with how to provide "core mandated services“ This presentation wants to highlight these core practice issues, and how they pertain to immigrant families, in contrast to, or in addition to child welfare policy and guidelines.
» When all is said and done, "Successful Family Outcomes" are child welfare's goal, followed by: Permanency for children when Family Reunification is not possible.
» Federal guidelines and practice mandates: 1) Service to offer alternatives to child removal. 2) If removal from an offending parent is necessary, the non offending parent must be considered as an option.
» Federal guidelines and practice mandates (cnt’d): 3) Immediate and extended family members are the "out of home placement resource" of first choice. 4) Reunification Service/Case plans are adequate and relevant to reunifying a child, and support services are readily available to assist the parent and child. 5) In the event Family Reunification fails, expedient permanency plans are in place for a child.
» The challenges facing the field worker » in addition to providing the Juvenile Court System detailed reports and recommendations along the way for their consideration and review. » The every day realities of practice can be daunting in the most normal of circumstances » Transposing substance abuse and DV issues upon this process increases the complexity of the case. At times in my own practice, I thought I was interacting with Drug or DV Court!
As a Child Welfare worker, supervisor, manager and director, it was always with some trepidation that I would find the need to introduce the immigration realities to the dynamics of the case at hand. » Yet given some key national demographics: ˃ 15. 7 m. children residing in the US have one foreign born parent. ˃ 80% of children in immigrant families are US-born ˃ The Pew Hispanic Center notes, for 2005 there to be 11 m undocumented immigrants and it is est. that 6 m. come from Mexico.
» It is obvious and necessary to be inclusive of the immigration dynamics, in much the same way, as a child welfare worker must be aware of the dynamics of Domestic Violence, when approximately 60 -65% of child welfare cases are estimated to have a DV component. » Child and family safety planning requires it.
» There are three major Child Welfare concepts that are critical to our mandates, agency accountability, and judicial oversight. » They are ˃ "Reasonable Efforts", ˃ Concurrency, and ˃ Permanency/Independent Living Plan. (ILP)
» Reasonable Efforts & Findings basically focuses on the child parent Case Plan--prevention, diversion, and reunification. » Concurrency Focuses on the need to plan for the eventual long term best interest of a child, and avoid Foster placement drift if FR fails. It is time sensitive, and based upon the Child Dependency clock. » Permanency/Independent Living Plan is child based » Family Reunification has failed and the child's long term needs must be addressed, within the most permanent options available: » Either adoption, guardianship, or the least desirable option, long term foster care/independent living. » There are no, or very few services for the parent, except perhaps visitation and maintaining connection when appropriate.
» Where the rubber hits the immigration highway: A) Regarding Reasonable Efforts services: » What services does an agency need to provide to parents who may be undocumented, when the children are US citizens? » Or if the child is undocumented, or immigration status unknown. » What services, or contract services are available to a parent in order to provide prevention and Family Reunification services to resolve an abuse or neglect issue, » and or resolve immigration barriers to services
» Issues regarding transporting a child or parent for visitation, especially along boarder communities. » How is the FM/FR service plan to be implemented among transnational families? » What are expectations of parents and agency regarding accessing F M /Family Reunification services? » How does the caseworker ensure court attendance and proper legal noticing, across borders and » Who is responsible to ensure compliance with the court hearings
» Similar as with relative assessments and placements across boarders, and » how does the social worker ensure child safety planning and protection beyond US jurisdiction, likewise, » the same sort of protocols and guidelines for Family Reunification placements with undocumented families in the USA » A growing concern among child welfare workers is the traditional CW partnerships with law enforcement, probation, public health and the schools amongst others, and the immigration protocols that these systems have. » How confidential is the immigration status of a parent and or child or extended family member in carrying out day to day implementation of the case/service plan.
» How does "illegality“ drift into "criminality" from a worker’s perspective? » What about the interaction with service providers and partners, noted above? » The workers own value-system needs to be a foundation. This is a difficult, and at times, conflicted task for those bilingual or bicultural workers. » How to deal with subjectivity vs. objectivity, and personal interpretations i. e. in Sanctuary communities, vs. agency guidelines.
» Concurrency starts immediately when a child enters the dependency system » A proper immigration assessment, relative to the need for the best long term option placement needs to be undertaken, while FR services are being provided » How to ensure these efforts include all relatives, including those outside of the US.
» There is also a tie into informationgathering, and an awareness of social support and transnational resources. » Consider the establishment of feedback loops to the worker and courts regarding potential/and actual placements outside of the US. » The task of visitation/supervision, becomes more complex when transnational issues emerge.
For concurrency planning: » are immigration issues: ˃ early identified, ˃ support documents located ˃ how are the immigration issues responded to (as a factor in impacting the FM/FR plan)
Permanency: » Within the context of a child's needs, especially regarding a case impacted by immigration concerns, ˃ What does permanency mean? ˃ Does it mean a child is placed in a permanent plan away from his/her culture, language or heritage? ˃ Or does placement abroad with limited supervision, provide a realistic option?
For undocumented children: » Are they provided with immigration relief such as SIJS » How may transnational family relationships can be maintained. » How and when does an identified guardianship or adoption plan evolve and » Is it possible to include an extended transnational family system in the Permanent Plan for the court dependent minor?
For the emancipating minor: » At times the issue of immigration legality is overlooked » Likewise, the importance of maintaining connections with extended transnational families is not considered. » Immigration issues are a major part of this concern but transcending this is the need for "connectedness" for a child emancipating from the dependency system from ages 18 to 21 in some states.
There are two child welfare documents that track much of what I am talking about. Navigating the Child Welfare Process: » The case/service plan, and the court report are two key tracking documents » Too often the Court System component of the Child Welfare System is not readily incorporated in an immigration review or overview. » Yet Child Welfare does not exist in a vacuum » There is a shared decision making process within the Juvenile Court System. » It is a critical reality in the workload and thinking of the caseworker, and hopefully all of you.
Key Considerations » At each critical decision point in the dependency process, an Attorney for the child, or parent » And a Court Appointed Child Advocate(CASA) and the agency will be reviewing the recommendations of the agency worker. » Much of their evaluation will depend heavily upon their individual knowledge of the dynamics of immigration, » The cultural and linguistic concerns, transnational issues and policy. » How are those factors controlled? Impacted?
Finally, there is the judicial oversight and leadership: » Those decisions too are based upon a Judge’s knowledge and comfort zone regarding: » immigration » transnational dynamics and » their influence upon the child welfare case. » We are fortunate at this conference to have many of these players here with us. » Likewise at these presentations, the perspective of the juvenile dependency system and its impact upon the child welfare arena is vital to responding constructively to immigrant families, and children.