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Foster Care Placement Settings and Permanency Planning: Patterns by Child Generation

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Released online: May 07, 2007
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The nonpartisan Urban Institute publishes studies, reports, and books on timely topics worthy of public consideration. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders.

Read the other two briefs in this series

Child Sexual Abuse: Removals by Child Generation and Ethnicity

Title IV-E Funding: Funded Foster Care Placements by Child Generation and Ethnicity

The text below is an excerpt from the complete document. Read the full report in PDF format.


Abstract

Over one fifth of all U.S. children have at least one immigrant parent. Social service systems are encountering increasing numbers of these children, but few hard data exist. Three briefs in the Identifying Immigrant Families Involved with Child Welfare Systems series provide some of the first data on Latin American immigrant children in out-of-home care in Texas. Key findings include:

  • Placement type: only 8 percent of Latin American immigrant children in out-of-home care are living with relatives compared with 20-28 percent of U.S.-born children.
  • Removal reason: Latin American immigrants are three times more likely to be removed because of sexual abuse than children of U.S.-born parents.
  • Title IV-E eligibility: only 5 percent of Latin American immigrants in out-of-home care are eligible for reimbursement compared with over half of U.S.-born children.

The experiences leading up to Child Protective Services removing a child’s from his or her home, and the removal itself, are traumatic. To lessen the potentially negative effects of involvement with Child Protective Services, federal law requires that states consider giving preference to relatives when a child is placed outside the home—under the premise that a child will fare better with relatives than with strangers. But relatives are not always available, and they often face hardships that make them less-than-ideal candidates for foster parents. In these cases, children may be placed in nonrelative family foster care, group homes, or institutions.

For immigrant children, involvement with Child Protective Services can be especially traumatic. These children are new to the country, may not speak English, are likely to have different cultural backgrounds, and may lack relative networks in the country. Placements in nonrelative family foster care, group homes, or institutions may be particularly upsetting and difficult for immigrant children. Additionally, permanency planning decisions for these children are more complex.

This brief focuses on the latest placement settings and case goals for Latin American immigrant children and children of Latin American immigrants compared with Hispanic and non-Hispanic children of U.S.-born parents in the custody of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) on March 31, 2006. Latin American children in out-of- home care were placed with relatives less often than other children in care, and Latin American children were more often placed in group homes and institutions than other children. Placement in group homes and institutions, however, is a function of age (i.e., older children are more often placed in group homes and institutions than younger children). In addition, fewer Latin American immigrants have case goals associated with relatives—reunification and relative adoption—than other children in care, and more have other case goals, such as long-term foster family care and independent living.

(End of excerpt. The complete report is available in PDF format.)



Topics/Tags: | Children and Youth | Immigrants


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