The following are resources from the third conference of the Migration and Child Welfare National Network (MCWNN),Immigration, Child Welfare and Borders. The conference was held January 26-29, 2009 in San Antonio, Texas and convened professionals from the fields of child welfare, immigration, law, policy and advocacy to discuss specific issues related to working with children and families in US border states.
Citizen children with undocumented parents are eligible for “child-only” TANF grants. In such cases, the adults and many of the children are not part of the assistance unit because they are considered “not qualified” immigrants. With funding provided by the American Humane Association, researchers at the Child and Family Policy Institute of California, Urban Institute and American Humane conducted a case study in one California county. The study examined how families with and without adult cash assistance make do; the barriers to receipt of benefits for eligible family members; services children need that, were they available, might promote optimum development; and possible compromise to children’s general well-being -- and hence the potential role of the child welfare system -- from minimal TANF support.
Presenter: Richard Speiglman, Child and Family Policy Institute, California
Over the past few months, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the American Humane Association have supported a qualitative study of the child welfare practices that affect immigrant children and families who come to the attention of public child welfare in the San Antonio area, specifically the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services’ Region 8. The presenters discussed preliminary findings.
Presenters: Raquel Flores and Lara Bruce, American Humane Association, Colorado
The unique regional focus of this roundtable led to a collective examination of practical and local issues that child welfare agencies confront when serving large numbers of immigrant families and children living in border communities who share a number of characteristics. The conference looked at how each side of the border defines child and family well-being, how these interpretations translate into transnational opportunities for collaboration and how, on the other hand, they might have resulted in barriers to policy, practice, research and system support.
Presenter: Sonia Velazquez, American Humane Association, Colorado
This session focused on the state of immigrant children and families in the child welfare system and how their well-being ties into Casey Family Program’s 2020 vision. Addressing the needs of migrant children and families is a key component of system change efforts to improve permanency outcomes and mitigate disproportionality for youths of color in the child welfare system. The unique issues and needs faced by migrant children and families who come in contact with the child welfare system were also discussed, along with. the challenges and promising practices involved with addressing the judicial, permanency, education and mental health needs of migrant children and families.
Presenters: Luis E. Flores, Serving Children and Adolescents in Need, Inc., Texas; Judge Oscar G. Gabaldón, Jr., Judicial District Child Protection Court, Texas; Sandra Rodriguez, Child Protective Services, Texas; and Deborah Escobedo, Youth Law Center, California
This panel presentation brought together child welfare and immigration professionals from Mexico and Central and South America to discuss current trends in the intersection of immigration and child welfare south of the U.S. border. The presenters discussed the challenges to child well-being in Mexico, Central America and South America and how they have created a network of professionals to address these issues. They also discussed ways to increase collaboration between U.S. child welfare agencies and the Mexican public child welfare agency (DIF) and other nonprofit organizations working with immigrant children and families.
Presenters: Ana Patricia Elías Ingram, DIF, Mexico; Patricia Fragoso Sánchez, National Institution of Migration, Mexico; Aracely García Granados, Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together, Texas; Raúl Rodríguez Barocio, North American Center Studies at Arizona State University, Arizona.