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Preparedness Plans for Immigrant Families

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September 4, 2017

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center recommends that all families have—and share with their children’s school—a family preparedness plan. Such a plan outlines who is responsible for the care and custody of minor children in the event of an arrest, detainment or other happening that would make parents unavailable to their children. These plans can help reduce stress and chaos in those types of scenarios. Because of special issues that immigrant families or families of mixed status face, the plans can be especially helpful.

A family preparedness plan should contain at a minimum the name and contact information of the emergency caretaker. Full plans should address not only the childcare giver but also medical information, plans for financial support and should also contain provisions for easy access to important documents such as birth certificates, passports, insurance information and any court orders. Families should discuss the plans with their children and the emergency caregiver, and he or she should have a copy. The caregiver should also have instructions for finding the family member in the event of a detainment. 

More detailed information on these plans, as well as frameworks for plans in English and other languages, may be found here.

About the Author

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Terri Thomas

Director of Legal Services

Terri Thomas serves as Director of Legal Services for OPSRC.  Ms. Thomas is an attorney practicing exclusively in the area of Oklahoma school law, with a primary focus on rural and smaller school districts. Prior to OPSRC, she served as legal counsel for the Organization of Rural Oklahoma Schools (OROS) from 1999 to 2015 and represents many school districts throughout all parts of the state.

It’s no accident that Terri wound up practicing school law.  She grew up in the school business. Terri’s father, the late Howard Thomas, was a school superintendent for 25 years in several Oklahoma school districts, including Pauls Valley—Terri’s hometown—and Ardmore. After graduating from Pauls Valley High School, Terri received her bachelor’s degree in Finance from Southern Methodist University and her Juris Doctor from the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

She and her husband, Norman Thompson, and their 8-year old daughter, Mary, reside in Oklahoma City.

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