Know the Facts: Unaccompanied Refugee Minors
Who are the Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URM) served through the URM program? Unaccompanied Refugee Minors are children and youth who are under 18, do not have a parent or relative in the United States to provide care, and can be any of the following: refugees, entrants, asylees, victims of trafficking, certain minors with Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. (Source: "About Unaccompanied Refugee Minors, Office of Refugee Resettlement)
Why do these individuals seek to come to the US? Often Unaccompanied Refugee Minors are fleeing from the drug trade, organized crime, gangs, violence, and political instability.
Where in the United States are these children and youth resettled through the URM program? The URM program places program beneficiaries in states across the country including, Phoenix, AZ; Fullerton, CA; San Jose, CA; Denver, CO; Washington, DC; Miami, FL; Boston, MA; Lansing, MI; Grand Rapids, MI; Jackson, MS; Fargo, ND; Rochester, NY; Syracuse, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Fort Worth, TX; Houston, TX; Salt Lake City, UT; Richmond, VA; Tacoma, WA; Seattle, WA. (Source: "About Unaccompanied Refugee Minors, Office of Refugee Resettlement)
What benefits are provided through the URM program? Program beneficiaries are required to receive the same services provided to all foster children in their state of residence. Other services include: indirect financial support for basic needs, case management, independent living skills training, educational supports including educational training vouchers (ETVs), English language training, career/college counseling and training, mental health services, assistance adjusting immigration status, cultural activities, recreational opportunities, support for social integration, and cultural and religious preservation (Source: "About Unaccompanied Refugee Minors," Office of Refugee Resettlement)
Are these children and youth ever reunited with their families? Whenever possible, the URM program seeks to reunite children and youth with a familial caregiver.
How does Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSS/NCA) work with the URM program? Every year, the LSS/NCA URM program serves approximately 40 children, although this figure fell to 26 in 2018 as a result of Administration policies, from all over the world through foster care services and benefits. The program ensures that youth develop the appropriate skills to enter adulthood and achieve self-sufficiency. As with traditional foster care services, the program encourages reunification with family whenever possible through family tracing and coordination with federal partners. However, if reunification is not possible, the program creates a case-specific permanency plan for each child.