• January 2014
  • Vol. 15, No. 1

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Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Visas

A growing number of children and families involved with child welfare are immigrants or refugees. This population has a unique set of needs and face different challenges than other families involved with child welfare. In a guest blog post for the Center for Advance Studies in Child Welfare, Rebecca Scholtz, an attorney at Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, highlights a Federal immigration provision that may help undocumented children achieve permanency.

The Special Immigration Juvenile Status (SIJS) visa allows some undocumented children receive lawful permanent resident status in as little as 6 months. This visa can help:

  • Protect children from deportation
  • Help children obtain work authorization
  • Make children eligible for public benefits like medical assistance
  • Provide children with access to Federal financial aid

SIJSs can change children's lives and help send them down the path toward permanency. Scholtz notes that child welfare professionals play an important role in identifying undocumented children. Because children lose SIJS eligibility when they turn 21, early identification and application is crucial.

The blog post explains the value of the SIJS, how to obtain the visa, and the visa's ramifications on children's permanency. Scholtz links to a bulletin from the Minnesota Department of Human Services offering more detailed information and resources for professionals working with this vulnerable population.

"Guest Blog Post: Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and Child Welfare," by Rebecca Scholtz, in the Child Welfare Policy blog, is available on the website for the Center for Advance Studies in Child Welfare:


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