Unaccompanied Refugee Minor (URM) Program

Who are unaccompanied refuge minors?

Unaccompanied refugee minors (URM) are children under the age of 18 who have been resettled in the United States without a parent or relative to care for them.

This may also be refugee children who originally entered the U.S. with family, but have experienced a family breakdown and are now eligible to participate in the URM program.

How does Lutheran Family Services care for these children?

URM children are placed in LFS licensed foster homes. These foster parents come from diverse ethnic and linguistic backgrounds and have received special training on the adjustment needs of refugee youth.

LFS foster care case managers assist in finding and providing special services that may be needed such as English language
classes, cultural identity and adjustment, refugee trauma and family tracing.

LFS is uniquely equipped to offer these children a new chance at life following significant hardship, loss and trauma. We are the only agency in Colorado that has expertise in foster care and refugee resettlement.

How is the URM foster care program different from traditional foster care?

The URM foster care program follows the same state and/or county laws and regulations that govern domestic foster care. URM foster families are specially trained to handle the particular needs of refugee youth.

How long do the children stay in the foster care program?

URM children can remain in the LFS foster care program until they complete high school or reach 20-21 years of age.

Are the children ever reunited with their families?

Refugee minors are generally long-term foster placements, although family tracing efforts continue where possible. Like children in domestic foster care, family reunification is always the goal—if feasible and in the child’s best interest.

Become a URM foster parent!

Refugee foster care is a challenging and rewarding job. The young people in the program have endured traumatic events. Most are from cultures that are very different than our own and many know little English when they arrive. They need a great deal of patience and understanding.

As a foster parent, you can help these children adjust to our educational, financial, political and social systems, helping them learn to function independently while also encouraging them to maintain their own culture.

To become a refugee foster parent, you must attend initial and ongoing foster parent training as well as cultural training.