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Walking in Their Shoes: Using a Multi-Modal Approach to Prevent Foster Care Placement with Immigrant Children

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​According to the American Psychological Association (2022), the number of immigrant and undocumented youth make up a significant number of immigrant and undocumented populations. While the view of immigrants is mostly positive, immigrant children and youth face a host of challenges. They can be the subject of racial and ethnic profiling, discrimination and harassment, gang involvement, arbitrary policing of documentation status, removal from their families and placement outside of their homes, and entry into the foster care system. Considerations for initial placement-related disruption include child demographic characteristics, child risk factors, the child’s case history, and placement characteristics (Sattler, Font, & Gershoff, 2018).  

​In the state of California, the Reuniting Immigrant Families Act (SB 1064) aims to address some challenges to reunification that immigrant families in the child welfare system face. Though the policy provides a solid foundation for change, several barriers, including, but not limited to, a lack of understanding of cultural needs, immigration, and cultural resources based on familial culture and parenting, a lack of resource use due to lack of transportation, multicultural understanding, and fears of system services or removal once the system is involved, parenting education is less effective when basic needs are not being met, neglect not being clearly defined, a lack of access to services and family court proceedings, systemic bias in education and prevention services and policies and policy and reunification involvement is not accessible for caregivers remain. To effect change, policy, prevention and intervention must all be taken into consideration. This presentation, while looking through this lens of intersection, looks at empirically based prevention strategies. Specifically, strategies will be explored that aim to address the individual, the family, and the system.

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