Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

February 2011Vol. 12, No. 1Helping Immigrant Families in the Child Welfare System

The Migration and Child Welfare National Network (MCWNN) has developed A Social Worker's Tool Kit for Working With Immigrant Families: Healing the Damage: Trauma and Immigrant Families in the Child Welfare System. The toolkit offers guidelines to assist child welfare and community-based agencies responding to the needs of immigrant families exposed to child maltreatment and other sources of traumatic stress:

  • Section I looks at how elements of good child welfare practice have implications for immigrant families exposed to traumatic stress. It also discusses the different sources of traumatic stress for these families.
  • Section II provides guidelines for integrating good child welfare practice with trauma-informed care, addressing such topics as engagement, assessment, and case planning. Special considerations for domestic violence are included.
  • Section III discusses building child welfare agency capacity through policies and protocols, administrative supports, staff training, and community partnerships.
  • The last sections feature frequently asked questions about immigrant families and appendices that include a case example and additional resources for child welfare staff.

The toolkit, by Elena Cohen, is available on the American Humane website: (597 KB)