Education, Medical, and Placement Rights

What public assistance and benefits do I qualify for if I am undocumented or do not have an immigration status?  What if my status changes?

  1. You may qualify for public assistance under a law called PWRORA, but you must be a qualified” immigrant, which means that your immigration status must fall into certain categories.
  2. Many kids in foster care do not fit into this category. However, if steps are being taken to get you an immigration status, you should qualify for Medicaid in Florida. Adriana, please help with CITE   

How can I get medical treatment if I do not have an immigration status?

You can always go to the hospital if you have an emergency to get treatment, and they hospital cannot refuse you. If they ask you about your immigration status, you do not have to answer. You can also visit the health department for medical concerns that are not emergencies. Once again, you do NOT have to answer questions about your immigration status if asked. CITE

Do I have the right to a public school education if I am undocumented?

Yes, you have the right to attend school no matter what your immigration status is.

If you are an immigrant child AND in foster care, you also have a right to be enrolled in school right away whether or not the school has all of your records.

A picture of an adorable blue cartoon pit bull named Scrappy.

SCRAPPY TIP: TIP: Everyone has their own A Number and it is very important to know your A Number. Take a picture of it and store it on your phone or somewhere safe if it is hard for you to remember.

Can I go to college if I am undocumented? Is there help with funding?

Yes, you can go to college, and if you were in foster care you will qualify for free tuition and fees. This applies for any public school after high school including trade schools. Adriana, please help with CITE You will not qualify for federal financial aid unless you are an LPR or in certain other limited circumstances.  Talk to your immigration attorney.

Can I join the military?

Have to register for selective service if you are born male and between ages 18-26. If you do not register, this can create problems when you are trying to become a citizen. However, you cannot actually join the military unless you are an LPR. You must be able to take a test and to speak, read, and write English fluently, as well as other requirements.

Can I vote?

No. Only US citizens age 18 and older can vote.  This is very important.

Can I be placed with family or family friends?

You have the right to ask the child welfare agency to engage in family finding. This means you have the right to be in a safe placement which is as close to your culture and family as possible. Also, your foster home has to respect your religious and cultural beliefs and practices. If you have identified family members or friends that you would like the judge to consider as placement options for you, please talk to your case worker and attorney as soon as possible.

What if my family members are undocumented?

The state must still make efforts to place you there and find alternative ways to run backgrounds etc if no SSN. CITE??.

What if there are no family members that are able to take me?

You still have options to advocate what kind of placement is best for you.  Other options are Foster Care or a Group Home. Click those sections to learn more!

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