May 2023Vol. 24, No. 4Supporting Immigrant Children and Youth in Foster Care
The National Foster Care Youth & Alumni Policy Council (NFCYAPC) released its 19th priority statement, "Supporting Immigrant Children & Youth in Foster Care." The policy directive emphasizes the need to ensure immigrant children and youth who experience foster care receive appropriate services and support regardless of their immigration status. The directive outlines three key priorities for improving the support provided to this population:
- Ensure immigrant youth do not exit foster care without legal status. This means that youth should start the immigration process as soon as possible (with support from child welfare agencies), including identifying and reaching out to lawyers who can help facilitate the process
- Provide caseworkers who are equipped to support immigrant youth in their immigration cases. The NFCYAPC recommends providing training to all child welfare staff on navigating the immigration process and accessing specific resources. The report also recommends that caseworkers have culturally competent training to effectively connect with and support young people from different cultures and connect them with their communities.
- Provide support for immigrant youth in understanding, accessing, and exercising their basic human rights. Youth should be able to understand their rights under U.S. law and should have access to resources that can help them exercise those rights. The NFCYAPC recommends that states develop and implement a plan to provide this support to immigrant youth.
By prioritizing the needs of this population and promoting collaboration across multiple systems and sectors, the directive seeks to ensure immigrant children and youth in foster care can access the services and support they need to thrive.