Rights of a Migrant Child in the USAJuly 31, 2021
Children and families cross borders due to various reasons. Both voluntary and involuntary migration may happen within or in between countries. Economic, socio-political, and environmental factors play a vital role in choosing migration. Today, there are many organizations, which ensure that migrant children get safety and proper care through foster care and other services. Children who migrate from rural to urban locations in the US due to poverty, political violence, or environmental disasters have specific rights that one should be aware of. Here, some vital reasons for migration and the rights of children migration are explained for a better understanding of how foster care can help migrant children getting a temporary or permanent home.
Reasons for Child and Family Migration:
There are numerous reasons for child migration, which are almost the same as adult migration. While some children migrate due to a lack of privilege and in search of a better opportunity, others may have to escape from violence, exploitation, abuse, or conflict. In some cases, children migrate along with families as the parents move or separate. Unfortunately, some children are left behind by their parents and as a result, become a victim of forcible migration. Here are some common causes of children migration.
- Economic reasons
- Educational aspirations
- Reasons related to gender or culture
- Personal motivations
- Natural disasters
- Humanitarian crises
Rights of a Migrant Child:
The Right to be Heard: According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the right to be heard is one of the child rights principles. Article 12 of the Convention mentions that every child can express their views in all matters that may or may not affect them. Anyone should give these views importance according to the age and maturity of the child. Based on this law, every child has equal rights to participate in social, political, judicial, and administrative platforms. This law goes on to show that children are not vulnerable persons in need of special protection but decision-makers and right holders. In most cases, children often refrain from disclosing information to the authorities in the country of destination out of fear. They might have been instructed not to trust the police and authorities. Hence, the officials and professionals should foster a sense of trust in the child when they meet the migrant children.
Assessment and Determination of Best Interests: best interests of the child is a child rights principle. Best interests work as a vital factor when making decisions regarding children. One must ensure that a migrant child gets protection from physical or psychological harm, abuse, neglect, and violence. Also, proper guidance and care should help the children reach their full potential. The assessment of best interests can help organizations and individuals to establish a trust-based relationship with a migrant child. One can find every detail of best interests from Article 3 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Right to Non-Discrimination: Every child has the right to non-discrimination based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinions, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth, or another status. Regardless of a child’s or its family’s immigration status, this right applies to all non-national children. When a state authority in the USA assesses an immigrant child’s case and situation, the authority should be responsible for clarifying which state has the jurisdiction over the child. Several factors may affect the jurisdiction process of a migrant child.
Development Rights: Article 6 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states that every child has a right to life, survival, and development. There are multiple spheres of a child’s mental and physical development. The state a child migrates to is responsible for the survival, security, and health aspects of the child. Also, when assessing the development needs of a child, there are many layers of factors that the states should consider.
Right to Consular Assistance: Embassies and consular offices of both the sending and receiving countries should assist the migrant children. Here, consular staff plays a vital role to support and assist a migrant child. A collaborative action of the sending and receiving state can establish complete assistance and support.
Refugee Foster Care Services:
Many organizations provide refugee foster care services to children who migrate. These organizations understand the past trauma and other complications leading to migration. To prepare for a future of independence, these organizations take vital steps to initiate proper foster care. According to studies, many refugee children have lived through trauma and losses. Though these memories cannot be completely erased, the future days can be secured with the help of these essential services.
Anyone who chooses to be a foster parent has to follow specific laws and regulations. Firstly, a foster parent should provide a safe and supportive home environment for an immigrant child. Secondly, a foster parent should provide emotional support while guiding a child to behave appropriately. Thirdly, a foster parent should bear the cost of the transportation for education, medical appointments, and extracurricular activities of an immigrant child. Also, the person should try to incorporate the culture and language of the child into the home’s atmosphere. With proper care, an immigrant child should be able to establish meaningful and lifelong relationships. The child should be able to plan for a future with adequate guidance and resources from the foster parent.
Children may need to migrate for various reasons, which can have mild to severe impacts on them. Foster care agencies across the US should follow the UN laws while providing care and support to migrant children. Similarly, there are multiple responsibilities of a foster parent, which a person should be aware of before adopting a child. The person must follow the UN laws and guidelines to ensure proper care and support. The right to be heard, best interests, and the right to non-discrimination make three child rights principles. Additionally, a migrant child should have immediate access to justice during a jurisdiction process.