Children’s Services

We are safely reunifying families one child at a time

Our top priority is reunifying children with their families as quickly and safely as possible. When this is not an option, we seek permanent and supportive relationships for our youth and equip them with the skills needed for successful lives in adulthood.

Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URM)

Minors who have been designated status as a refugee, an asylee, a victim of human trafficking, or a special immigrant juvenile. Youth are referred to us through our funders United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Many of the youth have fled their home country due to war, abuse and neglect, and other violence related crimes and are in need of homes that will provide a therapeutic, safe, and nurturing environment.

Unaccompanied Children

Only unaccompanied minors who have entered the USA without proper documentation and who were subsequently apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the Immigration are eligible for care. All clients need to be sent to the program by the Office of Refugee Resettlement via DHS.

International Foster Care

We provide foster care and independent living placement to youth in our program, ages primarily 14-21. The program relies on engagement from a wide range of community members including foster parents, mentors, tutors, and host homes.

St. Mary’s Shelter

We provide a safe and nurturing environment for unaccompanied children, ages 5-13. Our primary goal is to reunify youth with their family members as quickly and safely as possible.

What we do

Advocating for the safety and well-being of the youth

Children’s Services provides daily care, supervision, and case management services to eligible unaccompanied immigrant and refugee youth.

Our programs are accredited by Praesidium – an abuse prevention organization that completes risk assessments and accredidations for organizations serving vulnerable populations. We are a zero tolerance policy when it comes to abuse.

International Foster Care

Provides both short and long term foster care placement as well as Supervised Independent Living to unaccompanied refugee and immigrant youth. Holistic services include: intensive case management, foster home development and support, indirect financial support for housing, food, clothing and other necessities, educational support including tutoring and ESL, job skills and independent life skills training, mental health services, ongoing family tracing, cultural activities and recreation

  • Must be between the ages of 25 and 65
  • Must be single (non-cohabitating) or married*
  • Christian/Catholic preferred
  • No major life changes within the past year
  • All persons 14 and over in the home must pass a criminal background check, including FBI fingerprinting
  • Live within the Dallas/Fort Worth area
  • Must have a high school diploma or GED, and some English proficiency
  • Must have a phone and internet in the home
  • Must have a working motor vehicle safe to transfer children to activities, along with a valid Texas drivers license and insurance
  • All occupants of the home over 1 year of age must be screened for Tuberculosis
  • Must have adequate space in their house to comply with the Texas Child Care Licensing Minimum Standards (80 sq ft bedroom)
  • May only be licensed through one child-placing agency

Background- Who Do We Serve

  • What is international foster care?
    • We provide long term foster care placement, Supervised Independent Living, and holistic wrap-around services to unaccompanied refugee and immigrant youth. Our top priority is reunifying children with their families as quickly and safely as possible. When this is not an option, we seek permanent and supportive relationships for our youth and equip them with the skills needed for successful lives in adulthood.
  • How old are the youth you all serve?
    • The average age of an IFC youth is 14-17 years when they are placed with a foster family.
  • Where do most of the youth come from?
    • IFC serves vulnerable children from all over the world, including the countries of Burma, Iraq, Afghanistan, Eritrea, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, along with others. Many of the youth have fled their home country due to war, abuse and neglect, and other violence related crimes and are in need of homes that will provide a therapeutic, safe, and nurturing environment.
  • How many youth do you currently have in your program?
    • We have 41 in foster care and/or supervised independent living.
  • How many foster parents are currently in your program?
    • We currently have 17 licensed foster homes in our program.
  • How are youth approved to be in this foster care program?
    • Unaccompanied refugee minors who come from overseas with a refugee status, also known as M4 refugees, go through a thorough screening & interviewing process with UNHCR and the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services the same as any other refugee that is resettled in the U.S.. Because the youth are “unaccompanied” (without family or a viable caretaker), a Best Interest Determination interview is conducted, and the youth is referred to the URM foster care program in the U.S. by Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees & Migration.
    • Other youth eligible for our program through an approval process made at the federal level by Health & Human Services, Administration for Children & Families, Office of Refugee Resettlement. These “ORR-URM” placements have been living in the U.S. in ORR-funded shelters or foster care programs but are then eligible to transfer into the URM program once they receive a qualifying status, such as asylum, special immigrant juvenile status or trafficking certification.
  • Where are children while waiting to be placed in a foster home?
    • Most youth coming from overseas are either in a refugee camp or in housing provided by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) or other international NGOs. Youth coming from ORR custody usually come to our program from a shelter or foster home within the U.S.
  • Are there sibling groups available to foster?
    • Sometimes we have sibling pairs/groups as well as parenting or pregnant teens.
  • What does “long term foster care” mean?
    • Unlike domestic foster care where placements can be short-term or temporary, our program emphasizes a long-term commitment. We do everything we can to support foster homes and youth to preserve placements. This allows youth to have stability and develop lifelong, supportive relationships that will last long after they discharge from care. Youth can be in a placement anywhere from 3-5 years before moving into supervised independent living.

Becoming A Foster Parent

  • Do I have to be Catholic to be licensed with your program?
    • No, however, we do uphold Catholic Social Teaching as part of our program and would expect that our foster parents are comfortable with this.
  • What does the licensing process look like and how long does it take to complete?
    • Prior to beginning the licensing process, you will attend an orientation where you will be able to learn more about the program and ask questions. Once the orientation is completed, a Home Walk Through and Prospective Foster Parent Interview will be done. This interview takes place before a family can be invited to participate in pre-service training as a next step in consideration of being licensed. Once the Prospective Foster Parent Interview has been completed, the licensor will invite you to begin pre-service training. Pre-service training consists of about 50 hours of training, background checks, reference checks, home visits, and a home study with the addition of supporting documentation throughout the process. The process takes anywhere from 1-4 months, depending on flexibility of perspective foster parents.
  • What does a home study involve?
    • We use the Structured Analysis Family Evaluation (SAFE) model, which is a comprehensive approach to a home study that involves completion of questionnaires, psychosocial inventory, and interviews. The home study process does include information gathering about sensitive topics such as past abuse, drug/alcohol use, etc. as well as attitudes towards parenting. In addition, we complete references during the process.
  • What is the ongoing commitment?
    • We ask that foster parents commit to our program and realize that we are looking for long-term placements for the youth in our care.

What comes next?

  • What is the process of having a youth placed in my home?
    • Once a youth been identified as a good fit for our program, the team will identify a foster home that will best fit the needs of the child. We try to place youth in culturally-matched homes, when possible. Other considerations include ages and genders of other youth in the foster home. If identified for a placement, you are contacted and placement referral information- including basic demographic information and any known physical, mental health, education, behavioral, or family information is shared with you. Sometimes we receive a lot of information beforehand and other times we do not.
    • Once you agree to the placement, the program submits a placement memo to our national office, USCCB. Once approved, we begin making arrangements for the youth’s placement.
  • How long until a youth is placed in our home?
    • Overseas refugees can arrive anywhere from 1-6 months after placement is confirmed. It really depends on the resettlement process. A youth must arrive at least 30 days prior to their 18th birthday.
    • Placements from the ORR-URM waitlist are already in the U.S. and, after we accept the case and have a pre-placement call with the youth and foster parents, travel is generally arranged 1-2 weeks afterwards.
  • How long does it take for a child to be placed in my home?
    • We are uncertain as to when a child will be placed in a licensed home. It can take up to a year for URM clients to be placed in their foster home. Since the Biden administration has taken office, we have seen an increase in referrals for unaccompanied refugee minors and are in dire need for new foster parents like you!

After Placement of Youth

  • How does Catholic Charities support the foster youth placed in my home?
    • We provide holistic services including but not limited to: intensive case management, indirect financial support for housing, food, clothing and other necessities, educational support including tutoring and ESL, job skills and independent life skills training, medical, dental and mental health services, ongoing family tracing, cultural activities and recreation. Additionally, youth are eligible for funding sources to cover educational and other expenses that arise as they transition into independent living.
  • Does someone have to be in the home 24/7 to provide supervision?
    • Initially, when a youth is first placed, we do ask that someone is around for the first few days to help the youth adjust to the home and the community. There are also lots of appointments the first week or so of placement. After that, we make a determination about a youth’s level of supervision and any unsupervised time the youth is granted. Age, maturity and development level are considered when making this decision.
  • Can I take youth on trips out of the state or country?
    • Youth can go out of state for trips, after program permission is obtained. Any out of country trips will be approved on case-by-case basis depending upon if client has a travel authorization document or a passport needed for travel.
  • How does Catholic Charities support their foster parents?
    • We provide each foster family with individual support every step of the way! Foster parents work with a support team of home developers, case managers, counselors, education specialist, life skills specialist, and interpreters. They receive a foster care monthly reimbursement expected to cover the basic costs associated with the placement, transportation assistance, as well as access to respite care for breaks and travel, and monthly training opportunities tailored to their unique needs. We also have foster parent appreciation events and giveaways.
  • What happens if the youth has family in the U.S.?
    • Family reunification is always our primary goal and is continually being assessed through permanency planning. Maintaining family connections- in the U.S. or overseas- is always encouraged. Anytime there is a possibility for family reunification or family visits, the program staff will complete suitability assessments, home visits, background checks as needed. So, it is possible that a youth may be reunified with their family in the U.S.
  • Does your program allow youth to be adopted?
    • No, youth cannot be adopted through our program because we are usually unable to terminate the parental rights of biological parents. However, in some cases we can transfer conservatorship of youth to foster parents, effectively giving the parents all legal responsibility for the youth thus discharging him/her from care.
  • What if the placement is not working out?
    • Any time that you need additional support with your placement, the team is there! We will try to preserve placement stability through intervention, family counseling, and/or additional training or resources. If in the end, there is nothing that can be done, we ask foster parents to submit a written, thirty-day notice to allow the program enough time to find another suitable placement for the youth.

International Foster Care – Program Homes

Agency Homes

Our agency-run and agency-funded homes are operated by foster parents, who are agency employees. Generally having six youth in care at any time, allowing for flexibility, especially with sibling groups. We currently have one transitional foster care agency home and we have a need to open one more. If you are interested, please visit our careers page or Indeed job listings.

Community Homes

Located throughout the DFW Metroplex (within 100 miles) and can be licensed to welcome one to four foster youth depending on how many minor children are in the home. Community foster parents are able to maintain their jobs. As the youth become part of the family, our team supports the youth and the foster parent in the home . Foster parents receive financial assistance, home development support, ongoing training, successful completion of orientation, 40 hours of pre-service training, and home study assessment.

Our goal is to transition youth from foster homes to independent living settings, anywhere between the ages of 18-20. Ind living settings could include college dorms, transitional homes (Marillac), host homes or their own apartments with friends, relatives, etc., or JobCorps. Youth in supervised independent living still get case management, a stipend, and education/vocational support.

Foster Parent Opportunity – [NEW]

We are looking for agency foster parents to join our mission to serve international foster youth between the ages of 14-18. Please visit our careers page for more information.

Are you considering becoming a foster parent?

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent in the DFW area, you need to complete an intake process through the DFW-URM Intake Team at U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants by clicking the button below for the inquiry form. You can also contact them by email: or phone: 703-214-1073.

Children’s Services Impact

Every day, we are striving to improve the short and long term lives of children

FY 2023

children served
children were refunified with their families
young adults graduated high school

Anisa’s Story

Of the tens of thousands of people we serve every year, none are more vulnerable than children. They may face homelessness. They may be unable to return to their families. Or, as in the case of Anisa, they may be refugees escaping a violent homeland that claimed the lives of their parents. Our team is dedicated to giving all of these children a nurturing environment where they can thrive. Anisa’s path started with International Foster Care and a new home with a local family. And he flourished.

His hard work in both academics and athletics earned him a college soccer scholarship. He’s now part of Supervised Independent Living, our program that mentors youths like Anisa as they enter adulthood. Preparing for university life and excited about the future, Anisa now regularly greets his case manager with a huge smile and the news that “Everything is gooood!”

Children’s Services