Posted by familyfindingmx on 27th August 2011
Hi. My name is Richard Villasana, the Mexico Guru. Today I’ll be talking about family finding and the role that the Internet plays both in the U.S. and Mexico. Family finding is about the identification and location of a biological parent, grandparent and other adult family members when a child is entering foster care. It’s very important that these family members are notified so they can participate to help ensure the well-being of the child and, if necessary, provide a permanent, loving home.
Now one of the tools that state agencies, non-profits and attorneys use to do family finding is the Internet. Let’s face it. Everyone in the U.S. is online. People are sharing stories on Facebook, tweeting about their weekends, what they had for lunch while kids and their grandparents are sharing photos and videos on YouTube and Flickr. All of this information is open to the public. If that isn’t enough, lots of documents such as birth certificates and marriage licenses are just a few clicks away as long as you bring your plastic.
In fact, the guide “Making ‘Relative Search’ Happen” published by ChildFocus states that, “Internet resources are a fast-growing part of the [family finding] search toolkit. The more details about possible relatives that have been obtained from personal contacts and other databases, the more effective internet searches are likely to be.”
Now even though the Internet is a powerful tool that in part allows agencies and attorneys to successfully do family finding in the U.S., this doesn’t mean the same results can be expected when doing family finding in Mexico. In fact, when it comes to Mexico, the number of people that can be found using the Internet is almost the complete opposite from the U.S. Whereas up to 80% of relatives can be identified using the Internet and online databases from companies such as LexisNexis and U.S. Search, less than 20% of personal information about people living in Mexico can be found online.
So why is this? Well, one reason is the lack of information on people living in Mexico. For instance, years ago there was a Mexican website where you could search for all the people listed in the Mexico white pages. But this site has been gone for years. Now there is no central website for Mexico where state case workers can go to do family finding. The same is true of online databases. There is no equivalent to U.S. Search for Mexico. One of the key problems is that the majority of information from legal documents such as birth certificates hasn’t yet been digitized. It’s been estimated that only about 15% of all information on Mexican residents is available online. And most of this information is still in a file cabinet or in a box in some closet or warehouse.
The Internet is a powerful tool to do family finding. However, when it comes to Mexico the likelihood of finding information about a parent or family member is much lower compared to the U.S. It’s important to remember that Mexico is not the U.S. and what works here doesn’t automatically work in Mexico. The solution is that state agencies and non-profits need to look for additional resources to help them do family finding so they can identify and locate more parents and adult family members in Mexico of children entering U.S. foster care.
This is Richard Villasana, the Mexico Guru. Be sure to check back for more videos about Hispanic foster children and family finding. Feel free to leave comments. Together we can find solutions so that more Hispanic children can connect with family in Mexico and hopefully spend less time in foster care. Saludos.
Family Finding is the process of identifying and locating a biological parent, grandparent or other family members of a child in foster care. Special report by leading expert shares 5 key steps to take to begin family finding for family members in Mexico available at www.FindFamiliesInMexico.com. Find even more tips at www.Facebook.com/familyfindingmx.