November 3, 2011
Shattered Families: The Perilous Intersection of Immigration Enforcement and the Child Welfare System
Colorlines/ARC just released a report (Shattered Families: The Perilous Intersection of Immigration Enforcement and the Child Welfare System)that provides the first national investigation of the extent to which the children of deported parents languish in foster care.
Here are some of the key findings of the report:
There are at least 5,100 children currently living in foster care who are prevented from uniting with their detained or deported parents.
If nothing changes, 15,000 more children may face a similar fate in the next 5 years.
This is a growing national problem, not one confined to border jurisdictions or states -- ARC identified at least 22 states where these cases have emerged.
Families are more likely to be separated where local police aggressively participate in immigration enforcement.
Immigrant victims of domestic violence are at particular risk of losing their children ICE detention obstructs participation in Child Protective Services' plans for family unity.
Most child welfare departments lack systemic policies to keep families united when parents are detained or deported.
Federal, state and local governments must create explicit policies to protect families from separation. These polices should stop the clock on the child welfare process and the immigration enforcement process to ensure that families can stay together and allow parents to make the best decisions for the care and custody of their children.
Here are links to his Colorlines investigative articles on the issue: "Thousands of Kids Taken From Parents In U.S. Deportation System" and "U.S. Deports 46K Parents With Citizen Kids in Just Six Months"
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