Success and Impact

Toolkit Available For Child Welfare Agencies Working With Immigrant Families

A close up of a young person's smiling face. They appear to be embraced in a hug

​​Immigrant children and families in the child welfare system face unique barriers to permanency and well-being. With half of all children in California coming from an immigrant family, child welfare agencies in California must be equipped to effectively support immigrant children and families as they face unique barriers and challenges on their pathway to permanency. To help ensure that these agencies are prepared, the National Center for Youth Law published a Toolkit that can serve as an invaluable resource.


Report CoverStrengthening Child Welfare Practice for Immigrant Children & Families: A Toolkit for Child Welfare Professionals in California” (Toolkit), published in August 2019, is intended to provide guidance to child welfare agencies in California that work with immigrant children and families.

Critical information

The Toolkit provides helpful background information on immigrant children and families in California, as well as immigration terminology, and explores the trauma that immigrant children and families may experience at different points throughout their migration journey. Further, it describes the unique experiences of unaccompanied children, who arrive in the U.S. without a parent or legal guardian, and provides insight on engaging with immigrant families across cultural divides.

The Toolkit also offers advice on working with immigrant children and families to identify the need for immigration legal services, as well as information on how to connect them to non-profit legal services in the community. It provides an overview of the legal framework for working with parents detained in immigration custody or who have been deported, as well as best practices for navigating such complex situations.

Additionally, the Toolkit contains information on confidentiality considerations and limitations, and opportunities for collaboration with foreign consulates and embassies on individual cases. It concludes with additional resources for child welfare workers and agencies.

The Toolkit was co-authored by the National Center for Youth Law and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.

Our hope is the information and best practices summarized in the Toolkit and accompanying appendices will support child welfare agencies in serving immigrant children and families.

If you are part of a child welfare agency or social services provider that would like further support or have questions about serving immigrant children and families in the child welfare system, please contact our team.