CCD, in collaboration with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) serves both unaccompanied refugee minors (URMs) and unaccompanied alien children (UAC) who are eligible for resettlement in the U.S., but do not have a parent or relative available and committed to provide for their long-term care. The goal of IFC is to support its youth in exploring and adjusting to life in America while preserving their own culture and preparing for independence.
These youth are unable to return to their home countries due to persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.
This program encourages reunification of children with their parents or other appropriate adult relatives through family tracing and coordination with local refugee resettlement agencies. However, if reunification is not possible due to the minor’s parents are deceased, untraceable, or inappropriate due to abuse or neglect, a case specific permanency plan is designed for each minor in care.
Foster Care services provided include:
- Indirect financial support for housing, food, clothing, medical care and other necessities
- Intensive 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
- Cultural and religious preservation
The program relies on engagement from a wide range of community members including foster parents, mentors, former unaccompanied refugee minors, volunteers, leaders of faith communities, ethnic community leaders, teachers and coaches, business owners, and many others.
Through IFC, CCD staff, partner agencies, and foster parents help unaccompanied refugee minors develop appropriate skills to enter adulthood and to achieve social self-sufficiency by providing care, educational support, and case management to help the children thrive. Although unaccompanied minors are generally placed in long-term foster care, programs continue to make attempts to trace and reunite with a child’s family wherever possible.
Become a foster parent! There is an ongoing dire need for foster parents to support these youth. International Foster Care is separate from domestic foster care programs in that they have been developed by agencies with expertise in working with foreign-born children. Foster families are orientated towards the particular needs of refugee and immigrant children and work as part of a casework team to meet the youth’s medical, educational, emotional, social, and spiritual needs.
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