DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

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Handbook 13: Cross Program Protocols
13-20.1  Placing Children In and Returning Children From Mexico

 

Cross Program Protocols
13-20.1   Placing Children In and Returning Children From Mexico
Reference Points
Overview
Social Worker's Role in Mexico
Mexican Consulate's Role
Assessing a Relative Placement in Mexico (non-adoption)
Working with the Sistema Para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia (D.I.F.) to Complete the Home Study
Travel Arrangements When Transporting a Child To/From Mexico
Establishing Dual Citizenship for the Child
Safety Issues When Traveling
Upon Arrival in Mexico
Supervision of the Child in Mexico
Returning a Child to the U.S. After Placement in Mexico
When Relatives Are Not in Agreement with Having a Child Return to the U.S.
Contacts
Other References


Reference Points
Effective Date: 07/01/06
Last Updated: 7/31/2013
 Non CWS/CMS Forms:
MS Word Notice of Ex Parte Application (SCZ 170)
MS Word Attachment to Notice (SCZ170a)
MS Excel Travel Authorization (TA)
MS Excel Mexico Travel Expenses Worksheet (SC-MTE)
MS Word DFCS Special Funds Request (SCZ 414Z) - Travel
MS Word DFCS Special Funds Request (SCZ 414Z) - Birth Certificate
MS Word DFCS Special Funds Request (SCZ 414Z) - Immigration Expenses
MS Word Request Social Worker to Travel Abroad with Dependent Child
MS Word Memorandum to the County Executive to Request Approval for International Travel
MS Word Placement/Address Change (SCZ 17)
MS Word Assessment Form
MS Word

SOC 815, 817, 818 Combined (SOC 817 & 818 - Spanish)

 CWS/CMS Forms:
bullet

Court Management Section:  Ex Parte Application and Order

  MS Word Sample: Request to Travel With Child Out of the Country



Overview  

Because of Santa Clara County's proximity to Mexico, DFCS social workers may find it necessary to travel to Mexico to accompany a dependent child needing placement in or returning from that country.  The situations in which social workers may need to travel to Mexico include:

  • Placement of a child with relative / preplacement visit
  • Reunifying children with parents
  • Placement failures after child is placed with relatives
  • Trial return home
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Social Worker's Role in Mexico  
  • A United States Social Worker’s Role
    • A. U.S. social worker must follow the regulations of the Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores (SRE), Sistema Para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia (D.I.F.) and all the laws of the host country (i.e. México).

    • A U.S. social worker cannot practice social work in the host
      country (i.e. México).
      • The U.S. worker is considered a visitor.

    • All official activities of the U.S. social worker must be accompanied by a D.I.F. social worker or an official from Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores.

    • The DFCS social worker must complete the Relative Home Approval using same forms and procedures as when a relative home is approved in the U.S.


  • Sistema Para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia (D.I.F.) Social Worker's Role
    • A  D.I.F. social worker may:
      • Complete home studies on relative families in Mexico.
      • Accompany U.S. social worker to visit families.
      • Provide most of the resources needed by the child and the family.
      • If requested, in most cases, provide updated information about the family.
      • Provide periodic reports on the child's status, after the child is placed with relatives in Mexico.
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Mexican Consulate's Role  

The Mexican Consulate will:

  • Assist parents in the juvenile court process once contacted by the family.

  • Participate in Team Decision Making meetings (TDM) and Family Conferences once contacted by the family.

  • Assist in obtaining documents, including the following:
    • Mexican birth certificates from children born abroad
    • Presumption of Nationality documents, if the birth certificate cannot be located
    • Matricula Consular (photo ID)


  • Assist in establishing dual citizenship status for a child being placed in Mexico.

  • Obtain placement home studies (non-adoption).

  • Locate specific service providers and special services in México to meet the needs of a child and/or family.

  • Contact the Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores for protection of the traveling social worker.

  • Assist with Special Immigrant Juvenile Status for Mexican minor(s).
    • In cases where a Mexican minor has been placed as a dependent child of a juvenile court and becomes eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), the consulate will assist the Department in obtaining the necessary documentation from México for completion of the SIJS application.
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Assessing a Relative Placement in Mexico (non-adoption)  

After learning of a potential placement with a relative in Mexico, the social worker must schedule a Team Decision Making meeting to discuss placement options for the child.

     

If a placement with a relative in Mexico is agreed upon, the social worker:

  • Recommends to the parents that they call the relatives to ask them about possible placement of the child.
    • Tell the parents that the relatives may call the social worker collect if they are interested in placement.
    • The Mexican consular officers can assist in placement.
    • If the child is undocumented, inform the parents that the child will not be able to return to the U.S., once placed in Mexico.

  • Contacts the relatives by telephone and assesses over the telephone if the relatives are willing to take the child.


  • If they are assessed as appropriate, asks the relatives if they :
    • Are willing and able to provide a permanent placement or a permanent plan of guardianship or adoption.
    • Will permit a home study by Sistema Para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia (D.I.F.)


  • Informs relatives of court procedures.

  • Works with the Mexican Consulate and D.I.F. to complete a home study.


  • After the social worker receives the home study, contacts the Mexican Consulate and D.I.F. to identify, locate and arrange for specific services needed by the family and/or child, including special needs services for the child.
    • If requested, the social worker can provide D.I.F. with translated court documents ordering services needed for clients.
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Working with D.I.F. to Complete the Home Study  

El Sistema Para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia (D.I.F.) is the equivalent of the child welfare agency in Mexico with which DFCS social workers collaborate for placing or returning a child to or from Mexico.  To request a home study from Sistema Para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia (D.I.F.):

  • DFCS social worker contacts the Mexican Consulate's office.
  • Mexican Consulate:
    • Contacts D.I.F. in the area where the family resides and request the home study.
    • Provides the DFCS social worker with the name and telephone number of the assigned D.I.F. social worker.
     
  • DFCS social worker makes contact with the D.I.F. social worker and:
    • Informs the D.I.F. worker of the information needed in the home study.
    • Inquires as to how long it will take to complete the study.
      • The home study may not be completed in time to meet Court Hearing deadlines in which case the DFCS social worker reports the information to the Court.

  • D.I.F. social worker forwards the completed home study to the Mexican Consulate.
  • Mexican Consulate gives a copy of the home study to the social worker.
  • DFCS social worker:
    • Reviews the home study.
    • Notifies the Mexican Consulate of the intention to place and transport the child to the relative home in Mexico, if home is approved based upon the home study.

  • Mexican Consulate notifies:
    • El Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores and D.I.F.
    • The family who will be receiving the child.

  • Upon arrival in Mexico for preplacement visit, the social worker must complete a Relative Home Approval using forms SOC 815-817-818.
     
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Travel Arrangements When Transporting a Child To/From Mexico  

See:

popup window

SSA Travel Policy and Forms**

  • The standard Travel Authorization (TA) is used when submitting request for travel authorization.

  • **The Mexico Travel Expenses Worksheet (SC-MTE) replaces the standard Trip Expense Voucher (TEV) when submitting a request for reimbursement of travel expenses.
    • Airfare, baggages fee,concersion fee, hotel, and parking must have receipts for purposes of reimbursement.
    • Travelers should not use the receipt book.
    • Any single expense over $50 USD without a receipt will not be reimbursed without an explanatory Memo and DFCS Director approval.

PDF SSA Travel Policy - Quick Reference Guide

  • Preparation for travel should begin at least 45 days prior to the projected date of departure to allow enough time for obtaining documents and processing forms.
  • Contact the Mexican Consulate to inform the Consulate of the intention to travel with child to Mexico for placement.
  • The social worker may request assistance from a coworker to travel with and place the child.
    • To make the request use the form Request Social Worker to Visit/Place Court Dependent Children Abroad

 

To prepare travel with a child to or from Mexico, the DFCS social worker:

  • Submits to the Court an Application and Order to request the Court's authorization for the child to travel out of the country.
    • Attach to the App and Order:
      • Notice of Ex Parte Application (SCZ 170)
      • Attachment to Notice (SCZ170a)

  • Completes a Travel Authorization.
    • Travel Authorization must be approved prior to travel.

  • Submits  Trip Expense Voucher (TEV) at least 30 days prior to travel to Accounts Payable and Warrant Control.
    • Request for funds should include fees for passport and visa (FM3).
    • Itemize miscellaneous items such as bottled water, bathroom fees, taxi, toll fees.
      • Discuss these items with a coworker who has previously transported a child.
    • Check on exchange rates for converting dollars to foreign currency.

  • Prepares a Memorandum to the County Executive, signed by social worker, supervisor, and SSPM, requesting approval for international travel.
  • Completes:
    • DFCS Special Fund Requests (SCZ414Z) - Travel for funds for the child's travel expenses
    • DFCS Special Fund Requests (SCZ414Z) - Birth Certificate
    • DFCS Special Fund Requests (SCZ414Z) - Immigration and Passport Expenses for the child's passport


  • Submits a packet of paperwork to the DFCS Travel Coordinator, which includes:
    • Travel Authorization
    • Travel Expense Voucher
      • The DFCS Travel Coordinator screens, reviews and coordinates all travel plans.
    • Memo to the County Executive regarding travel expenses in a foreign country.
    • Memo to the County Executive signed by supervisor and SSPM
    • Copy of the Court Order authorizing travel
    • DFCS Request for Funds (SCZ414Z) - Travel for child's airfare
      • Other DFCS Requests for Funds for document fees, etc. are submitted separately for administration approval and are not included in this packet.
      • This complete packet will be forwarded to the County Executive for approval.

  • Submits the DFCS Request for Funds (SCZ 414Z) Immigration and Passport Expenses for document fees, etc. to SSPM for approval and forwarding for administration approval.
  • Applies for himself/herself:
    • Passport
      • Application for these documents can begin at any point in the process.
      • Obtaining a passport may be expedited by going directly to San Francisco to apply.


  • Obtains travel documents for the child which include:
    • Birth certificate (Acta de Nacimiento)
      • If the child was born in the U.S., the birth certificate needs to be translated into Spanish, which can be done through DFCS staff or Interpreter List.
    • Passport
    • Presumption of Nationality document, if passport cannot be obtained
    • Dual Citizenship certification

  • Contacts the child's school for copies of school records to take to Mexico.
  • Contacts Child Health and Development Program (CHDP) to obtain copies of child's medical records, including immunization record.
  • Submits requests for funds for purchase of suitcase and clothing for the child, if needed.
    • Funding may be requested through Family Preservation money or a Director's Exception (SCZ 414A).
    • Clothing or other material items may be requested from the Kinship Foundation or Philanthropic Ventures Foundations.
  • Completes a Placement/Address Change Form (SCZ 17) with the relatives' address in Mexico.
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Establishing Dual Citizenship for the Child  

It is necessary for dual citizenship to be established for the child, as both a U.S. and Mexican citizen, so that the child is eligible to enroll in school in Mexican and to receive various other services there.

To establish dual citizenship for the child, the social worker:

  • Obtains a certified birth certificate.
  • Has the birth certificate translated into Spanish.
    • Contact: Maria Guerrero, DFCS
      373 W. Julian, 2nd floor
      Tel: (408) 501-6442
     
  • Takes both the certified and translated birth certificates to the California State Regional Office - Notary Public (apostilla) in San Francisco.
    • California Secretary of State Office
      455 Golden Gate Ave.
      San Francisco, CA 94102

      Tel: (415) 557-8000

    • The State Office will notarize and seal the certified and translated birth certificates together, establishing dual citizenship for the child.
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Safety Issues When Traveling  

Safety Issues:

  • Provide supervisor, DFCS Consulate liaison, SSPM, Mexican Consulate and DFCS Travel Coordinator with:
    • Written travel itinerary.
    • Names and phone numbers of contacts in Mexico.
  • Traveling in pairs is advisable.
  • Do not carry or show large amounts of money.
  • Drink bottled water in foreign countries.
  • Always carry travel documents (i.e., passport, FM3).


For information related to International Travel:

popup window U.S. State Department
popup window U.S. Department of Homeland Security
popup window Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
popup window World Health Organization
popup window U.S. Department of Agriculture
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Upon Arrival in Mexico  

Once the social worker arrives in Mexico, the worker must meet with the D.I.F. social worker before proceeding to the relative home.  The D.I.F. social worker will accompany the social worker to the relative home.  The social worker should not proceed to the relative home without the D.I.F. social worker.

  • The D.I.F. social worker may be at the airport to meet the DFCS worker.
  • If the D.I.F. worker in not able to meet the DFCS worker at the airport, the worker should contact the D.I.F. office or worker by phone, to inform them of the worker's arrival.
    • Take a taxi or bus, rent a car to the hotel .
  • The DFCS social worker should:
    • Contact someone in the U.S. to let them know of the safe arrival.
    • Contact the relative family to let them know of the worker has arrived in Mexico.
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Supervision of the Child in Mexico  

The D.I.F. social worker will provide ongoing supervision of the child, while the child is placed with relatives in Mexico.  The D.I.F. social worker submits quarterly reports to the DFCS social worker with information about the child's care and adjustment.  If the report from the D.I.F. social worker does not address all areas of the child's status, the social worker contacts the D.I.F. social worker to request the additional information, sending the Assessment Form (Spanish version) which outlines each area to be covered.

The DFCS social worker must contact the child and the caregiver:

  • By telephone at least once a month
  • In-person at least once every six months

The primary worker may request assistance of another DFCS social worker in making the visit by using the form titled Request Social Worker to Visit/Place Court Dependent Children Abroad.

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Returning Children to the U.S. After Placement in Mexico  

DFCS policy is for a Team Decision Making meeting (TDM) to be scheduled prior to any placement change, except in cases where there is immediate danger to a child.  If there a situation in which the TDM cannot be scheduled prior to a placement change, the social worker schedules the TDM as soon as possible, after the child is moved.


When both the relatives and DFCS are in agreement to having the child return to the U.S. from the relative placement in Mexico, the social worker:

  • Immediately notifies the Mexican Consulate's office by telephone and in writing informing the Consulate of the need to return the child to the U.S.
    • Mexican Consulate's office contacts the Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores and D.I.F.

  • Notifies the following parties, if they were not part of the decision-making process:
    • Parents
    • District Attorney
    • Relatives
    • Parents' attorneys
    • Children
  • Obtains required documents which include:
    • Ex Parte Applications and Order that orders the return of the child to the U.S. translated to Spanish and certified by the court.
      • Ex Parte Applications and Order is to be “apostillado” (certified) by the Secretary of State office in San Francisco or Sacramento.
    •  
    • Child's:
      • Certified birth certificate.
        • The child should have his/her birth certificate that was obtained prior to placement in Mexico.
        • To reenter the U.S., proof of U.S. citizenship is mandatory.
          • A child placed in México who is not a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident, will not be able to return to the United States.
      • Dual Citizenship document
        • Under Mexican law, dual nationals entering or departing Mexico must identify themselves as Mexican citizens or face a stiff fine.
      • Passport
        • The child should have his/her passport that was obtained prior to placement in Mexico.
      • Migratory form for foreign tourist.
        • This form will have been filled out on the plane en route to Mexico.

    • Notarized letter from the relative caregivers releasing the child from their care to present to Mexican Immigration authorities at the airport, so the child can leave the country.
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When Relatives Are Not in Agreement to Having the Child Return to the U.S.  

If the Department makes a determination to have the child return to the U.S. and the relative caregivers in Mexico are not in agreement, the issue must be brought before the Mexican court.  Under the laws of the U.S. and Mexico, the court with jurisdiction is the one where the minor is residing. Consult with County Counsel and the Mexican Consulate for information on how to proceed.

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Contacts  

The following DFCS staff and organizations can provide information and assistance regarding placement of a child in Mexico:

  • DFCS Travel Coordinaton

           Deborah Hundt

           (408)501-6805

  • Transporting Children to Mexico Children Across Borders Program
    • Mirna Lau, SWIII, Continuing Services

    (408) 501-6648

    • Christina R. Martinez, SWIII, Non-Minor Dependent Unit

    (408)501-6838

    • Sylvia Roque, SWII, Dependent Intake
  • (408)501-6504

  • Family Conferences/TDM

Leticia Gonzalez, Social Work Supervisor, JDM Unit

(408) 793-8826

  • Legal Consultations
    Julie McKellar, County Counsel
    (408)491-4242
  • Liaison with Mexican Consulate
    • Jaime Lopez, DFCS Deputy Director

      (408) 501-6802

    • Connie Vega, SSPM III, Service Bureau B

      (408)501-6607

    • Miday Tovar, SSPMI, Early Intervention (ER) Bureau

      (408) 501-6521

  • Public Notary Services
    • Robin Rivas, OMC, Continuing Services Bureaus
      (408)501-6674
    • Rose Bacani, Legal Clerk- Family & Permanency Bureau
      (408)501-6307
    • Maria Guerrero (Spanish), Legal Clerk - Court Intervention (DI) Bureau
      373 W. Julian, 2nd floor
      (408) 501-6442
 
  • Public Charge, BCIS Assessments, Strategic Planning
    • Jaime Lopez , Deputy Director, DFCS
    • (408) 501-6802
    • Miday Tovar, SSPMI

    (408) 501-6521

  • Consulate General of the Republic of Mexico

    2125 Zanker Rd.

    San Jose, CA 95131

    (408)294-3414

 
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Other References  
bullet Ex Parte Application and Order
popup window SSA Travel Policy and Forms
PDF SSA Travel Policy - Quick Reference Guide
bullet IOPP Chapter 13-20: Immigration Issues and the Child Welfare System
bullet OPP Chapter 13-20.2:  Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)
bullet IOPP Chapter 13-20.3: Immigration and Naturalization: Information and Resources
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