Expert Says Immigrant Children Will Spend Years in U.S. Foster Care

(SAN DIEGO, CA)… Richard Villasana, an immigrant child expert, warns that hundreds of immigrant children are being placed into overburdened state foster care. “The majority of foster care agencies lack the resources or expertise to locate a parent or other relatives who live in Mexico or Central America,” explains Villasana. Failing to find family members means that children often spend years alone in foster care. This custody can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per foster child.

“The federal government will need to provide additional funding to foster care agencies that take in immigrant children,” advises Villasana. The placement of just one child in a foster group home can cost more than $100,000 per year. Agencies that already lack sufficient caseworkers may very well need to hire more staff to properly care for incoming immigrant children.

Foster care agencies will have to be held accountable for doing a thorough search to find a parent and other adult family members. Agencies routinely contract out these services to non-profits. “Many foster care offices will require specialized services if there is ever to be hope that these children will be reunited with their families,” says Villasana.


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