Providing Care for Children in Immigrant Families

Julie M. Linton, Andrea Green and Council on Community Pediatrics
Date of Publication: 
September, 2019
Source Organization: 

Children in immigrant families (CIF), who represent 1 in 4 children in the United States, represent a growing and ever more diverse US demographic that pediatric medical providers nationwide will increasingly encounter in clinical care. Immigrant children are those born outside the United States to non–US citizen parents, and CIF are defined as those who are either foreign born or have at least 1 parent who is foreign born. Some families immigrate for economic or educational reasons, and others come fleeing persecution and seeking safe haven. Some US-born children with a foreign-born parent may share vulnerabilities with children who themselves are foreign born, particularly regarding access to care and other social determinants of health. Therefore, the larger umbrella term of CIF is used in this statement. CIF, like all children, have diverse experiences that interact with their biopsychosocial development. CIF may face inequities that can threaten their health and well-being, and CIF also offer strengths and embody resilience that can surpass challenges experienced before and during integration. This policy statement describes the evolving population of CIF in the United States, briefly introduces core competencies to enhance care within a framework of cultural humility and safety, and discusses barriers and opportunities at the practice and systems levels. Practice-level recommendations describe how pediatricians can promote health equity for CIF through careful attention to core competencies in clinical care, thoughtful community engagement, and system-level support. Advocacy and policy recommendations offer ways pediatricians can advocate for policies that promote health equity for CIF.

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Linton, J., Green, A., & Council on Community Pediatrics. (2019). Providing care for children in immigrant families. Pediatrics 144(3). Retrieved from