About Us


It is the mission of LACES to serve and support Latin American Children, by working towards reuniting them with family if their parents have been incarcerated or deported.

Last year, there were at least 5,100 children living in foster care across the United States because their parents had been deported or detained by immigration authorities, according to a report released by the Applied Research Center. (The center is a think tank that researches racial justice issues.)

When children are taken into state custody, social workers generally place them with relatives, family friends, in a group home setting or with a foster family. To regain custody, parents must meet with child welfare officials, attend court hearings and comply with the terms of an agreement or “service plan” that usually includes things such as drug or alcohol rehabilitation, attending parenting courses, taking psychosocial tests, counseling, or improving conditions in their homes.

Under the terms of a 1997 federal law, parents must generally demonstrate cooperation and progress within one year or risk losing custody of their children forever. But when parents are detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, they are difficult and sometimes impossible to find.

There is evidence of at least 5,100 children pushed into foster care after their parents were detained by immigration officials or deported.  During that time, courts typically begin the process of assessing whether child welfare workers are making, “reasonable efforts,” to help a family reconnect. Reasonable efforts can be complicated when geographical and cultural boundaries are present in a case. In several border communities particularly dedicated child welfare workers have contacted foreign consulates and reconnected deported parents with their kids. But many children put in state custody after their parents have been detained or deported were not living in Border States, and officials do not have the legal resources or the knowhow or sometimes the will to get these children reunited with their families in their parent’s native country. Therefore they are put up for adoption in the United States.

There are around 11 million undocumented people living in the US. Last year 400.000 were deported and out of these, 200,000 stated they have US born children. If this tendency continues in five years there will be 15,000 children left behind in the state’s custody.

However wonderful the adoptive placement might be and however better education, schools and standards of living are in the US, children deserve to grow up with their family.

While challenging, these complications are not insurmountable. LACES serves as a bridge for those cultural and geographical boundaries that obstruct the family reunification of these children.

LACES, together with its sister organization ENLACE in Mexico is working with Mexican officials, governmental agencies and consulates to arrange for the means so that the Department of Family and Protective Services and the Family Courts will feel comfortable returning children to families living in Mexico. Insuring, as well, that these relatives, be them, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc., get legal representation in the United States Family Courts.

Whereas this takes place, LACES is committed to contribute to these children’s wellbeing while in CPS custody.

*Update: This year (2013) we have begun by assisting in the return of 4 children with their father in Mexico.



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