Latino Families in the Nexus of Child Welfare, Welfare Reform, and Immigration Policies: Is Kinship Care a Lost Opportunity?

By Ayon, Cecilia; Aisenberg, Eugene et al. | Social Work, January 2013 | Go to article overview

Latino Families in the Nexus of Child Welfare, Welfare Reform, and Immigration Policies: Is Kinship Care a Lost Opportunity?


Ayon, Cecilia, Aisenberg, Eugene, Cimino, Andrea, Social Work


The number of Latino children involved with the child welfare system has more than doubled in the past 15 years, currently representing 21 percent of known cases of child maltreatment (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families (HHS, ACYF), 1997, 2009). Culturally appropriate services are in dire need, and kinship care placements appeal to the family system fundamental to Latino culture. Evidence suggests kinship placements result in fewer moves and instances of reentering care, better opportunities for maintaining contact with birth family, and faster sibling placements (Cuddeback, 2004; Winokur, Rozen, Thompson, Green, & Valentine, 2005). Unfortunately, most child welfare policies ineffectively deal with issues unique to Latinos, such as cultural norms, mixed documentation status within households, and high rates of poverty. This commentary explores the multifaceted barriers Latino kinship care providers are likely to encounter as their lived experiences intersect with child welfare, welfare reform, and immigration policies. We posited that culturally sensitive practice and policy can reduce some strains experienced by Latino families involved with child welfare and supports kinship care as a viable placement option.

BACKGROUND

Types of Kinship Care

Traditionally, kinship care includes formal and informal care. Formal kinship occurs when children are placed in state custody, whereas informal kinship arrangements do not involve the child welfare system. Within formal kinship caregiving, placements can be foster kinship care--where relative caregivers become licensed providers, or volunteer kinship care--where a child is placed with a relative without seeking state custody (Geen, 2004). These distinctions significantly affect the type and amount of payment caregivers can receive as well as access to supports and services (for example, mental health).

Latino Kinship Care and Licensing Difficulties

Latino families' ability to be licensed foster kinship placements are complicated by a limited definition of kin, immigration issues, and lack of language-appropriate services. The family system plays a pivotal role in the lives of Latino families and individuals. Central are familismo, which refers to the importance of family unity that contributes to the well-being of the family and extended family (Cauce & Domenech-Rodriguez, 2000), and compadrazgo, which is co-parenthood akin to godparents (padrinos) that forms social and religious ties between families and the selected godparents (Barrio & Hughes, 2000). These concepts produce strong family loyalties extending beyond the nuclear family to include kinship networks and non-blood relations (Hurtado, 1995). Unfortunately, federal and state policies ignore these non-blood networks, as such people are ineligible for licensure. In the majority of states "kinship" is narrowly defined through blood relation, marriage, or adoption. Only 21 states adhere to a broader definition that includes non-blood ties like friends, neighbors, or godparents (Leos-Urbel, Bess, & Geen, 2000).

Latino families are unable to be licensed foster caregivers if they live in a mixed-documentation household, in which nearly three in five (62 percent) U.S. Latino children reside (National Council of La Raza, 2009). A mixed-documentation household has one or more people living in a home who are undocumented immigrants. Caregivers in these situations may refrain from becoming a licensed kinship placement due to requirements like background checks that require caregivers and people in the household 16 years and older to provide fingerprints and valid photo identification. Family members who want to be licensed caregivers may place themselves or others in danger of deportation, especially in light of anti-inmaigrant policies (for example, Arizona's SB1070, Prop 200) that mandate child welfare workers to enter homes and report immigration status.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Latino Families in the Nexus of Child Welfare, Welfare Reform, and Immigration Policies: Is Kinship Care a Lost Opportunity?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.