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Toolkits Available to Child Welfare Workers to Better Handle Immigration-Related Issues
Date:11/4/2009

DENVER, Nov. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Two innovative child welfare toolkits -- A Social Worker's Tool Kit for Working With Immigrant Families -- A Child Welfare Flowchart (August 2009) and A Social Worker's Tool Kit for Working with Immigrant Families -- Immigration Status and Relief Options (June 2009) -- are now available to public and private child protection services (CPS) workers, attorneys, immigration workers and legal aides who assist with child welfare-related cases. These toolkits were created to increase workers' knowledge and skills relative to immigration-related issues that may impact their ability to assist immigrant families when they come to the attention of CPS.

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"Immigration has been a defining feature of the United States throughout its history," said Sonia Velazquez, vice president of the Children's Division of the American Humane Association. "Currently, children represent one of the largest and fastest-growing immigrant populations in the U.S. As a result of this growth, the child welfare field faces many new issues of practice, policy and research specific to children from immigrant families. Child welfare workers need to have the resources to actively pursue answers to a large number of confusing situations and questions that impact the lives of children from immigrant families." Since the beginning of Velazquez's tenure at American Humane, she has dedicated efforts to develop and launch resources to adequately serve immigrant families in the child welfare system.

Leading organizations in the fields of immigration and child welfare were convened by American Humane in 2006 to increase the effectiveness of the child welfare system and other corresponding systems' response to issues of migration and to the needs of immigrants who come to the attention of social services. These organizations constitute the Migration and Child Welfare National Network, (MCWNN), a dynamic group that has shown numerous accomplishments under the leadership of the American Humane Association, Annie E. Casey Foundation, American Bar Association, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Jane Addams School of Social Work/University of Illinois, International Social Services of the United States, US Conference of Catholic Bishops/Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services(BRYCS), Casey Family Programs, and other national organizations.

"The toolkits provide public child welfare workers and other professionals with a basic understanding of the U.S. immigration system and an overview of how and when immigration issues may arise during the chronology of a child welfare case," said Yali Lincroft, a consultant with the Annie E. Casey Foundation and primary author of the toolkits.

The first toolkit, Child Welfare Flowchart, begins at the point of a child abuse report and continues through assessment, diversion or intervention, removal, dependency issues and permanency planning. At each stage of the flowchart, potential immigration issues are noted and explored.

The second toolkit, Immigration Status and Relief Options, is intended to provide public child welfare workers with a basic overview of the dynamics of the U.S. immigration system as it impacts their clients. It reviews immigration concepts and constructs and includes practical resources such as tips for accessing vital documents, facilitating communication between child welfare system workers and immigration legal counsel, and a summary of immigration relief options applicable to youths in dependency proceedings.

The toolkits are available as a free download at www.americanhumane.org/migrationtoolkits. To become a member of the MCWNN, please go to www.americanhumane.org/migration and download the registration form.

For more information about American Humane visit www.americanhumane.org. Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/americanhumane or www.twitter.com/humanetouch, on MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/americanhumane) and on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/AmericanHumane). The information contained in this release can be reused and posted with proper credit given to the American Humane Association.

About American Humane

Founded in 1877, the American Humane Association is the only national organization dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Through a network of child and animal protection agencies and individuals, American Humane develops policies, legislation, curricula and training programs to protect children and animals from abuse, neglect and exploitation. The nonprofit organization, headquartered in Denver, raises awareness about The Link(R) between violence to people and violence to animals, as well as the benefits derived from the human-animal bond. American Humane's office in Los Angeles is the authority behind the "No Animals Were Harmed"(R) end-credit disclaimer on film and TV productions, and American Humane's office in Washington, D.C., is an advocate for child and animal protection at the federal and state levels. The American Humane(R) Certified farm animal program is the nation's original independent certification and labeling program for humanely raised food. American Humane meets the strong, comprehensive standards of the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance, has been awarded the Independent Charities of America's "Best in America" Seal of Approval, has met the stringent standards for financial efficiency and accountability required by the American Institute of Philanthropy to qualify as a Top-Rated Charity, and has received a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator, America's premier independent charity evaluator. Visit www.americanhumane.org to learn more.

SOURCE American Humane Association


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SOURCE American Humane Association
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