• November 2014
  • Vol. 15, No. 10

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Migration and Child Welfare

The summer 2014 issue of FOCUS, the newsletter of the Foster Family-Based Treatment Association (FFTA), highlights migration and its implications for child welfare services in the United States. According to 2010 U.S. Census data, 40 million immigrants live in the United States today; children of these immigrants make up one-quarter of all children in the United States. Most of these children are U.S.-born citizens, often living in mixed-status families where the children are citizens, but one or both parents are not. This population, along with foreign-born children and youth who have experienced migration (e.g., immigrants, refugees, asylum-seekers, undocumented persons, or unaccompanied immigrant youth) have increasingly come to the attention of child welfare. The diverse cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds of these children, as well as their unique needs, requires culturally competent and respectful child welfare intervention and services.

Staff from the Migration and Child Welfare National Network (MCWNN), Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, the Migration and Refugee Services Department at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB/MRS), and the Institute for Women in Migration contributed articles to this issue. One article, "Meeting the Unique Needs of Unaccompanied Refugee and Migrating Children in Specialized Foster Care in the United States," by Anne Mullooly, M.S.S.W., and Kristyn Peck, M.S.W., of USCCB/MRS, briefly explains the Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URM) program, developed in the 1970s to enable the placement of foreign-born children in community-based foster care in the United States. The children served by the program include refugees, asylees, abused and abandoned children, and victims of human trafficking, and some of their personal stories are shared. The article also discusses how URM adapts its service provision to meet the needs of this population, specifically, refugees and victims of human trafficking.

Other articles written by subject matter experts discuss:

  • An overview of the topic, including data, service barriers, new approaches, and an introduction to URM and MCWNN
  • Reuniting children with their families in other countries, the associated challenges and proposed solutions, and tips for child welfare professionals working with these children and families
  • Evidence-based parent training programs used with U.S.-born and immigrant Latino families

A list of additional State and national migration and child welfare resources is also provided. To read more, access this issue of FOCUS, 20(3), 2014, on the FFTA website:

http://www.imis100us2.com/FFTA/New_FFTA_Content/Learn/FFTA_Publications.aspx

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