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.

State and federal officials will also need to set up a comprehensive oversight process to track the movement of immigrant children as they are sent across the country and placed in foster care. Appropriate efforts must be made to ensure that these kids do not disappear or become victims of human and sex traffickers.  

Villasana asserts, “The right steps must be taken. If not, once the story about these immigrant children cools, many can expect to spend most of their childhood alone in foster care. They will then have to fend for themselves with no family connections once they age out of the system.”


About Richard Villasana

Richard Villasana has been featured by ABC TV, AP News, Costco Connections, the San Diego Business Journal, Foster Focus Magazine and EFE, the world’s largest Spanish language media company. A proud Navy veteran, Villasana is a leading international authority on immigration issues and foster families. He is a national columnist and international speaker. He has also translated for the United Nations. Villasana is the founder of Forever Homes for Foster Kids, a non-profit. For nearly 25 years, his organization has worked with government agencies across the country to find families for immigrant children to create a permanent home. For more information, email


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