Case Related Issues
It is the Departmentís policy to actively serve all persons who come under its purview, regardless of immigration status. The array of services available to other Department clients shall also be available to undocumented persons. This includes, but is not limited to, family preservation efforts to avoid family members being separated through incarceration due to violation of immigration status or deportation procedures.
Federal law is very strict regarding the continued presence of non-citizens within the borders of the United States. Such persons must meet strict criteria and have proper documentation in order to avoid deportation. In cases where it is not possible or appropriate to assist the adult client with obtaining proper documentation, the Social Worker shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the client has access to services that are reasonable and necessary to promote the best interests of the family.
Child protective social workers shall engage this population and provide services that protect and serve children who may not have documentation papers as well as their documented family members.
Due to the complexity of immigration law, it is important to proactively engage families to ascertain whether adults and children who are DCF clients may be undocumented (illegal aliens), as it is very difficult to challenge deportation cases. The identification of undocumented persons by Department staff does not require, and shall not result in, reporting this information to the Department of Homeland Security Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Upon learning of the undocumented status of any client receiving Department services, Social Workers shall immediately :
alert the Office of Legal Affairs if there are questions regarding the immigration status of a child who is in the Departmentís custody, and
work expeditiously with legal staff to determine the appropriateness of and procedure for ensuring that children obtain proper documentation .
Undocumented Children -
Undocumented children of any age can be deported to their country of origin, even if they have been raised in the United States since infancy. In addition, children who have entered and remained in this country legally may be deported simply because their parents have been ordered deported.
In such cases, the child may not have been aware of the parentís status nor received notice that the parent had been ordered deported; nonetheless, the child will still be at serious risk of deportation.
Committed Children -
Undocumented children who are committed to the Department are eligible for a special exception and cannot be deported while they remain committed. However, once the child turns eighteen (18) years of age and is no longer committed under Connecticut law, his or her former alien status may be restored and he or she may again be subject to deportation. Therefore, it is essential to address the child's immigration status well before his/her 18the birthday.
The Social Worker shall apply for an alien registration card (green card) for a committed child who is not a citizen of the United States . This process can be lengthy and complex. If it is not completed before the childís commitment is revoked or expired, the child may not be permitted to complete the process. To ensure that the child receives his/her green card in a timely manner, this should be addressed well before his/her 18the birthday.
Even children who have been adopted by United States citizens may be subject to deportation if their status has not been legalized prior to leaving the legal guardianship of the Department.
Given the complexity of immigration law, the Social Worker shall consult the Office of Legal Affairs; however, the actual legal work will likely be performed by outside immigration specialists with whom the Department contracts.
NOTE: It may still be possible for a youth to attain permanent resident status after he/she has turned 18 or left DCF guardianship. If a youth falls into one of these categories, or is close to his/her 18the birthday, the Social Worker should work with the Office of Legal Affairs to contract with a specialist in immigration legal matters. However, because the outcome cannot be guaranteed, staff should address the immigration status of children in DCF custody as soon as the issue becomes known.
Cross Reference: Policy 31-8-13.1, Vienna Convention
Undocumented Adults -
In cases in which an adult DCF client is believed to be an undocumented immigrant, the Social Worker shall assist the client with obtaining proper documentation whenever appropriate.
Connecticut Department of Children and Families
Effective Date: January 31, 2008 (Revised)
Content Last Modified on 1/30/2008 2:58:06 PM