Safety Planning and Other Resources to Protect Parental Rights

The following resources are intended to help immigrant parents who have been detained or removed protect their rights over their children. While there is no substitute for the assistance of immigration and family counsel, parents and those assisting them can use these resources as a guide for avoiding and navigating contact with the child welfare system.

Please note that this information is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

Training Module

On July 31, 2012, the Women's Refugee Commission, the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project and the Applied Research Center—with the generous support of the Four Freedoms Fund—hosted a web-based training on strategies for preserving family unity in the face of detention and removal.

Child Welfare Resources

Protecting Parental Rights: Safety Planning for Parents

Apprehensions by immigration enforcement officials are on the rise. Here are some practical tips and suggested steps immigrant parents can take to prepare for and minimize the adverse consequences of a possible separation from their children.

Adoption Reunion Registries

Detained or removed immigrant parents whose children have been adopted can register with an adoption registry to increase the chance that their children will be able to locate them later on, if they choose to do so.This list provides contact information for both national and state adoption registries.

Applying for U.S. Passports from Detention

The children of a detained or removed parent need certain travel documents before they can travel to a parent’s country of origin. This pamphlet provides parents of U.S. citizen children with information on how to apply for U.S. passports for their children during detention or after removal. (For information on applying for visas, contact the consulate of the parent’s country of origin).

Child Welfare Agencies in Mexico and Central America

Contact information for child welfare agencies in Mexico and Central America that may be able to assist with home studies and help parents comply with US child welfare issues family reunification case plans.

Contact Information for State Child Welfare Agencies

This state-by-state listing provides the hotline numbers of every state child welfare agency. These agencies can help parents locate children within the child welfare system.

Migrant Assistance Agencies in Mexico and Central America

There are several organizations in Mexico and Central America that can help individuals who have been removed from the U.S. with reintegration into their country of origin. This list provides contact information for a number of those organizations.

Sample Request for Appointed Counsel in Family Court

For detained and removed parents who are unable to access the proper appointed counsel request form for the family court in the state where their children are living, this sample letter can be used to request that the family court appoint counsel for them. (Note: not all states appoint counsel to parents involved in child welfare proceedings)

State Handbooks for Parents

This state-by-state listing provides links to state-specific handbooks and forms for parents with child welfare cases. (Note: not all states make resources available)


The following links are intended to help parents locate and obtain immigration counsel. The inclusion of these legal services does not constitute their endorsement by the Women’s Refugee Commission.

ABA Commission on Immigration/Immigration Advocates Network List of Nonprofits Providing Free or Low Cost Immigration Services

State-by-State Listing of Attorneys Providing Removal Proceeding Services