Brighter Futures for Migrating Children: An Overview of Current Trends and Promising Practices in Child Welfare
Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services (BRYCS)
Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC: Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and United States Conference of Catholic Bishops/Migration and Refugee Services (USCCB/MRS)
2006, 38 pages
Refugee, undocumented, and trafficked children from a broad range of countries represent a growing population in many of our state and county child welfare systems, and many service providers are facing challenges in meeting their unique needs. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which has specialized in serving migrating children for over 25 years, convened Brighter Futures for Migrating Children: An Overview of Current Trends and Promising Practices in Child Welfare to share key "promising practices," or innovative strategies that have resulted in more effective services to these populations. The discussion took place on February 27, 2006 in Washington, D.C., during the Child Welfare League of America National Conference, "Children 2006: Securing Brighter Futures." Speakers from USCCB and Bridging Refugee Youth & Children's Services (BRYCS) provided background information on migrating children and their service eligibility. Dr. Ilze Earner, editor of the recent September/October 2005 special issue of Child Welfare, "Immigrants and Refugees in Child Welfare," presented immigration trends and successful strategies for improving the responsiveness of service systems to the special needs of migrating children. Audience members shared current challenges, as well as opportunities, and contributed methods and resources from their organizations and experiences in serving these children. This session was part of an on-going series of facilitated discussions (including the National Child Welfare Advisory Board in 2004 and "Enhancing State Child Welfare Services to Migrating Children" in 2005) sponsored by USCCB and their partner organization LIRS, with support from the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement. These events have brought together a broad range of experts in the field to discuss challenges and identify strategies for improving child welfare services and outcomes for these especially vulnerable children. This report draws from the presenters' notes together with the major comments made by presenters and audience members during the discussion that followed.