Creating pathways to stability for immigrating children and families

Creating pathways to stability for immigrating children and families
May 16, 2024

How ICF combines expertise in child welfare, workforce optimization, and data science and technology to support immigrating children and families.

Every child who immigrates to the United States arrives with their own unique story. They may be unaccompanied, entering with refugee status, or crossing the border without immigration documents. Surrounding and supporting every child is an invisible safety net of support. Federal agencies such as the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must coordinate both with each other and with an external web of nonprofit, faith-based, and community networks to ensure that each child, youth, and family that enters the country is cared for appropriately as they search for a stable home.

What is the most compassionate and effective way to assist immigrating children and families from the moment they enter the United States?

With more than 30 years of child welfare expertise, ICF knows how to support immigrating children and families. We apply this expertise to every stage of the process, from initial to long-term resettlement, from shelters or foster care to safe sponsor families, to ensure effective care at every turn.

“When it’s managed and used effectively, data tells the story of what works or doesn’t work for children and families. It’s the cornerstone of building better outcomes.”

Sherri Levesque
Sherri Levesque
Project Director, Child Welfare

Providers must make data-driven decisions, factor in cultural considerations, and communicate effectively to care for vulnerable populations. To strengthen the system that supports thousands of children and families who cross the U.S. border each year, federal agencies and their external partners should focus their efforts in three key areas:

  • Intra- and inter-agency collaboration. Supporting immigrating children, youth, and families is a team effort. The entire network of providers at the federal, state, territory, and local levels must work together to ensure that each child and family is cared for—from the moment they enter the country until they are either on a path to self-sufficiency or placed in a sponsor’s home. This safety net, while comprised of individual threads of support, must learn to function as a unit. It’s important to understand the full complement of agencies and providers in the net, accounting for their different specialty areas and knowing how to leverage them at just the right time to meet the dual needs of the government and of the children in their care.
  • Data management solutions. Effective mission delivery is built on a foundation of accessible and optimized data that powers informed decision-making. Taking a data-driven approach to decision-making can inform program design, funding decisions, program monitoring, customer experience, and employee experience. It can also reduce or remove unconscious biases and mitigate risk for children, families, and agencies.
  • Workforce training and optimization. The training and technical assistance (TTA) arm of a program is where the mission is brought to life for grantees. Effective TTA and capacity-building programs supply state, territory, and local jurisdictions with the tools they need to address the needs of immigrating children and families. These solutions must be evidence-informed and supported by state-of-the-art technology to help agencies understand and respond to recipient needs well.

If you are part of this safety net of support, download our eBook for actionable recommendations and best practices you can follow to ensure a smooth and stable transition for immigrating children and families.

Download our eBook