- Slides: 19
The intersection of Child Welfare and Immigration: Challenges and Options Prepared for the 2016 CSWE APM Child Welfare Track- Special Topics Thursday, November 3 Robin Hernandez-Mekonnen, Ph. D, MSW,
Outline • • • Root Causes of Migration Psycho-Social Needs of Immigrant Children The Role of the IV-E University Partnership Representing Immigrant Children Resources
Root Causes of Migration Push Factors Pervasive Gang and Cartel Violence Recruitment • Sexual and gender-based violence • Extortion of children and families Lack of state protection & persecution by government • Long term devastation from natural disasters or conflict • Crumbling political and economic infrastructure Lacking adequate adult caretaker Poverty – Child abuse and neglect Pull Factors • • Reunification with caretaker in U. S. Relative safety and security of U. S. Economic opportunities Education
Exposure to Complex Trauma • Events before migration, such as extreme poverty, war exposure or torture, extortion, threats (push factors); • Peri-migration trauma or psychological distress occurring at the time of leaving the country of origin, fear, uncertainty; • Events during migration, such as parental separation, hunger or the death of traveling companions, sexual exploitation; • Experiences of rejection and suffering if seeking asylum, such as chronic deprivation of basic needs, detention; • Survival as an immigrant, such as experiencing substandard living conditions, lack of income, racism, isolation; • Acculturation differences, particularly between adolescents, parents, relative or other caregivers (transgenerational).
Needs to consider • Physical and Mental Health – Providers who are bilingual and culturally competent – Possibility of little or no medical history • Educational – English learners- with flexibility for remedial needs – Flexibility in cultural expectations with home/school priorities • Child Welfare/Courts/Advocacy – Coordination of a trauma informed system of care – Understanding and respect of human rights/dignitytrust The goals of the child welfare system are safety, permanency, and well-being; None of these are priorities of the immigration system
The Role of the IV-E University Partnership • Stockton Masters Child Welfare Education Program (MCWEP) – Provides a captive and engaged sample of mid level career workers to inform targeted policy issues. – Create a natural pipeline for disseminating current knowledge into relevant practice and impacting policy. • Developing a timely policy response on immigration issues facilitates addressing immediate concerns as they arise in practice. • Combines enhanced learning communities with core MSW education 58 Students/35 county offices- all Supervisors or Casework Supervisors – Serving approximately 1500 (total approx. 7000 OHC) cases statewide
Child Welfare Systems CPS agencies handle cases with multiple populations • Unaccompanied minors • Undocumented youth – DREAMers • Citizen children in mixed-status families Some case will be/are court involved • Immigration/removal • Criminal • Family Courts Some cases we should initiate court-based relief • VAWA • SIJS, etc
Common Forms of Immigration Relief for Children • Adoption • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals • U visa • VAWA • T visa • Asylum • Special Immigrant Juvenile Status • (Family Petitions)
Child Welfare Priorities = Support for Immigrant Children and Families • Provide Permanency For the Child - citizenship = eligible financial aid for school - can work legally - don’t have to be afraid of authorities and deportation • Stability for the Family - Family members can access government benefits - Can work legally - U-Visa & VAWA cases – can free from abuse • Well Being
Stages & Outcomes of Collaborative Work in NJ • Identified prevalence and need • Placement with Undocumented Kin Policy • Researched: – LA county model (C. Sacco) – Identified barriers and need within the agency (surveyed MCWEP students) Partnered to create training for supervisors, courts, and attorneys MCWEP- Trauma informed Child Welfare Practice Course (NCTSN) Attorney General appointed Special Designee DCF contract for specialized legal services for immigrant families from Rutger’s immigrant law clinics • MCWEP students have prioritized collecting parental nativity, are advocating for RFPs for trauma informed, culturally appropriate, provider services to better meet immigrant children/family needs. • Students can invoke ICE Parental Interests Directive • •
Resources – Women’s Refugee Commission http: //www. womensrefugeecommission. org/resources/document/1031 -make-a-planmigrant-parents-guide-to-preventing-family-separation-english – CICW http: //research. jacsw. uic. edu/icwnn/practice-toolkits/ • Child Welfare flowchart • Immigration and Status relief options • State Court related opinions – ICE Parental Interests Directive Fact Sheet • https: //www. ice. gov/about/offices/enforcement-removal-operations/parentaldirective. htm – NJ DCF Policy • Undocumented Kin placements permitted under certain circumstances related to the best interest of the child (7/14) • http: //cssr. berkeley. edu/cwscmsreports/Latino. Practice. Advisory/ CPP-IV-A-11 -200. pdf
Resources Additional Resources for Engaging Students/Participants • Engage/Interact – Knowledge of Immigration Facts http: //cw. routledge. com/textbooks/readingsfordiversity/section 3/ch-02 -e. pdf – Personal/familial journey to the U. S http: //cw. routledge. com/textbooks/9780415892940/data/4%20 Personal%20 Familial. pdf Presenter Contact Information: Robin Hernandez-Mekonnen Child Welfare Education Institute Stockton University, NJ Robin. [email protected] edu
APPENDIX: Results (N=58) DCF –IV-E Students/Supervisors Q 1. What have been some of the major obstacles or barriers to effectively providing necessary services to immigrant children and families?
Results Q 2. What have been some of the most valuable services or resources to which you have had or made access to best serve immigrant children and families?
Results Q 3. If you could design the ideal programming (magic wand) for working with immigrant children and families, what would it look like? What services would you provide? What resources would you have access to?
Results Q 4. If there were a specialized legal unit, to which you could refer immigrant family cases for support via legal advice, special status petitions, etc. , do you think DCPP workers would be willing to refer families? Do you think families would be willing to access the support? .