Law and Best Practices (2)

A Guide for State Court Judges and Lawyers on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

This article describes the role of state courts and legal practitioners in a young person’s journey toward gaining Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). Recent ABA policy resolutions support undocumented children’s access to Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) and other forms of immigration relief.

This article was prepared in collaboration with the American Bar Association - Center for Children's Law and the Pelican Center for Children and Families. 

 

Determining if a Child is Safe

The basic and most important determination judges make in child in need of care cases is whether a child(ren) is safe. Critical safety decisions are made when removing a child and determining whether a child should return home. However, without a comprehensive decision-making structure and thorough inquiry, decisions can lead to over and under removal, leaving children unsafe or returning them home too quickly. 

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has implemented a research-based, structured safety assessment process designed to avoid these problems. It is the responsibility of all individuals involved in a case to understand the goal of child safety, the terminology used when discussing safety, and the type of information needed to make good decisions about child safety.

This bulletin was developed in 2016 by the Pelican Center for Children and Families with assistance from ABA Center for Children and the Law and the Pelican Center/Louisiana Child Welfare Training Academy Training and Education Committee members. Please download and share!