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February 2010Vol. 11, No. 1New Resources for Working With Immigrant Youth and Families

Recent resources from American Humane and from Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services (BRYCS) offer tools and tips for child welfare workers whose caseloads include immigrant children and families.

American Humane has released new toolkits designed to familiarize workers with the dynamics of the U.S. immigration system, addressing immigration issues that may arise through the progression of a child welfare case. The toolkits include a description of basic immigration concepts (e.g., immigration status, roles of government agencies, confidentiality provisions), a child welfare flowchart, and a summary of immigration relief options. The importance of cultural and linguistic competency in the child welfare system is also highlighted. Appendices offer information on obtaining vital documents, screening questions for immigrant youth, a glossary of immigration terms, and other relevant links. 

Visit the American Humane website to access A Social Worker’s Tool Kit for Working With Immigrant Families: Executive Summary, A Child Welfare Flowchart, and Immigration Status and Relief Options:

The BRYCS website has posted Suggestions for Interviewing Refugee and Immigrant Children and Families and 12 Suggestions for Interviewing Children Using a Foreign Language Interpreter. These tip sheets stress the importance of linguistic sensitivity while preparing for interviews with immigrant families. Some of the recommendations include:

  • Obtain access to indepth information about refugees' culture and family values prior to the interview
  • Choose a qualified interpreter ahead of time
  • Clarify confidentiality issues with both the interviewee and the interpreter
  • Encourage questions
  • Be aware of your tone, voice, and emotional response

Both briefs are available on the BRYCS website: (117 KB)

[Editor's note: This link is no longer available.]