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October 2014Vol. 15, No. 9Guide to Prevent Migrant Family Separation

Migrant parents who are separated from their children due to detention or deportation are in danger of having their parental rights violated or terminated, and their children may be placed in the care of the child welfare system. It can be very difficult for detained or deported parents to comply with child welfare case plans or to attend court proceedings. Parents may not have time to make appropriate arrangements for their children before they are detained, and if they are deported, they run the risk of permanent separation from their children. The Women's Refugee Commission, a resource and advocacy organization that works for the care and protection of refugee women and children, published a guide to help migrant parents be prepared in the event they get detained or deported.

The guide provides concrete strategies and steps parents can take to protect their children and preserve their parental rights. Guidance includes information on parents' rights to a phone call and the exercise of prosecutorial discretion when they are in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody, getting a lawyer, finding out if their children have been placed with child welfare, participating in family court hearings, and much more.

Access Detained or Deported? A Brief Guide to Maintaining Custody of Your Children here:

English: (PDF - 146 KB)

Spanish: (PDF - 154 KB)

For more tools to help migrant parents prevent family separation, visit the Women's Refugee Commission webpage: