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Public Benefits and Child Welfare Financing
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May 21, 2010

By Yali Lincroft and Ken Borelli

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This policy brief provides an overview of public benefits, placement, and financing issues that impact immigrant families within the child welfare system. The authors highlight the difficulties that immigrant parents, caretakers, and relatives face when their immigration status prevents them from accessing critical public resources, court-mandated reunification services, or permanency options.

Recommendations include:

  • Amendment of Title IV-E of the Social Security Act to allow foster care funding for non-citizen children of immigrants, regardless of their immigration status;
  • Access to all necessary services for parents and adult caretakers of children in the foster care system, regardless of their immigration status, in order to facilitate their child’s safety, permanency, and well-being;
  • Allocation of resources for training child welfare agency staff on the needs of immigrant families regarding their eligibility and access to support services;
  • Federal incentives to encourage child welfare agencies to develop linguistically and culturally appropriate foster homes; and
  • Review of state policies in regards to the “Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act” as they relate immigrant children and families.

This report was released by First Focus in partnership with the Migration and Child Welfare National Network. The report is the third of the comprehensive paper series entitled, Caught Between Systems: The Intersection of Immigration and Child Welfare Policies. This new series examines the many challenges that arise when the immigration and child welfare systems collide and provides solutions on how the two systems can work together to better protect the interests of children and families.

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