Kerrie Evans, Assistant Professor and colleagues have a new paper published in Child & Family Social Work.
Title: Unaccompanied immigrant children in long-term foster care: Identifying and operationalizing child welfare outcomes
The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 was developed with the goal of increasing the safety, permanency, and well-being of children involved in U.S. child welfare systems. A growing number of unaccompanied immigrant children (UC) are being served in long-term foster care (LTFC) under the auspices of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). UC are placed in care because an appropriate sponsor is not available pending immigration hearings. Yet, the research literature has been silent on how outcomes for UC can be articulated and operationalized to guide policy and practice. This study fills this gap by exploring how safety, permanency and well-being may be defined for this population. Seventy-nine service providers working unaccompanied children in the Midwestern and Northeastern United States participated in 22 focus groups. Findings indicated that safety, permanency, and well-being are fundamental for UC but include different aspects, such as emotional safety in addition to physical safety, the nuances of legal permanency and placement stability in addition to family reunification, and cultural integration as a factor of well-being and mental health. This study's results can inform organizational data collection procedures, culturally relevant assessments, and a deeper understanding of the experiences of UC in foster care.
Crea, T. M., Evans, K., Lopez, A., Hasson III, R. G., Palleschi, C., & Sittley, L. Unaccompanied immigrant children in long-term foster care: Identifying and operationalizing child welfare outcomes. Child & Family Social Work, doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12902