With the current immigration climate, many families with mixed immigration status are faced with the harsh reality that they could be torn apart. We advise families to make a family emergency plan in preparation for this worst-case scenario.
If you do not have legal status, or you are not a citizen and have minor children in the United States, it is important to keep the following in mind:
Talk to your children and family: Talk to your children in advance about who will care for them while you are not available. Identify an adult who is willing to take responsibility for your children and talk to them about that responsibility.
Prepare important documents: Keep all of your children’s important documents and information in a folder, such as:
- Birth certificates;
- Social security cards or ITIN number;
- A-Number and any immigration documents (work permit, green card, visa, etc.);
- Name and telephone number of your children’s school and teachers;
- Your children’s vaccination cards;
- Copies of your children’s health insurance cards;
- Children(s)’ medical information, including health insurance, doctor’s contact information and medication list;
- Emergency numbers and important contact information;
- Any restraining/protective order involving your children;
- Caregiver Affidavit;
- Any other documents you would want to be able to quickly find.
Tell your children, family members and emergency caregiver where to find this file in an emergency.
Decide who will take care of your children: Talk to your family and friends in advance about the best plan for your family if you are unable to care for your minor children.
- Have the contact information of the person you assign as the caregiver of your children so that individual can take care of your children in your absence.
- Name this person as an emergency contact in your child’s schools.
- You and your children should memorize this person’s phone number.
Consider preparing a Caregiver Affidavit for the caregiver’s use.
To view and download a copy of a Caregiver Affidavit, please visit www.bettzedek.org/our-services/rapid-response.
A Caregiver Affidavit is a form that allows the person caring for your children to:
- enroll the children in school.
- consent to medical and dental treatment, including immunizations.
A Caregiver Affidavit does not affect the rights of the child’s parent with regard to the care, custody, and control of the child and does not mean that the caregiver has the legal guardianship of the child. The powers and limitations of the affidavit are also listed on the back of the form
A few additional points to keep in mind about the Caregiver Affidavit:
- It is valid for one year from the date it is signed, and does not need to be notarized or submitted to a court.
- The information requested in the form relates only to the child and the caregiver (not the parent).
- The form must be signed by the caregiver (not the parent)
- One form is required for each minor.
- The Caregiver’s Affidavit can be given to your child’s school and/or health care provider so that the person you name on the affidavit can make certain decisions for the child.
Who can be listed as a caregiver on a Caregiver’s Affidavit?
- The person you want to be your child’s caregiver needs to be at least 18 years old. (If you have children over the age of 18, they can be the caregiver of your minor children.)
- They can be a relative or a nonrelative. (If they are a non-relative, they can only consent to school-based medical treatment.)
- They do not need to have legal status.
Do not use a Power of Attorney.
We do not recommend that you obtain a power of attorney as a means of transferring custody of your children to the caregiver because in California this document is not valid (in California, legal custody can only be transferred from a parent to a caregiver by a judge). Parents should instead consider preparing a Caregiver Affidavit for the caregiver’s use.
What if the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) takes the children?
In general, a relative receives a call from DCFS after the child has been taken out of the home of their parents. It is important that your children know who to call in case DCFS asks them whom they want to live with. The person you appoint to care for your children can call the DCFS helpline (1-800-540-4000) and say that they want to take care of the child and that they need the name and number of the emergency social worker. They should be ready to give the child’s name, address, and age, and the parents’ names.
For additional information: Please contact Leisette Rodriguez at (323) 549-5833 or at email@example.com
To download additional copies of the caregiver’s affidavit or of this packet, please visit our website at www.bettzedek.org/our-services/rapid-response