Long-Term Foster Care Program For Unaccompanied Minors
Antoinette Bryce, LCSW, Assistant Director, Unaccompanied Minors Program (UAC) & Adoption and KinGap Unit
555 Bergen Ave, 4th Floor, Bronx, NY 10455 – 718-742-8503
Kirsten Cooper, LCSW, Assistant Vice President, Family Foster Care
555 Bergen Ave, 4th Floor, Bronx, NY 10455 – 718-742-8727
Who are Unaccompanied Minors?
A child under the age of 18 who enters the United States without legal immigration status, and without a parent or legal guardian residing in the United States,is considered an “Unaccompanied Alien Child” or unaccompanied minor.In some cases, these young people are placed into the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR),a program of the federal government’s Administration for Children and Families.
How are children referred?
Once minors are in ORR custody, they are placed in short-term shelter programs with the goal of reunifying them with a sponsor (a family member or someone with whom they have had a proven relationship). If sponsorship falls through,children are then referred to a long-term foster care program. That’s where JCCA comes in. Our expert team recruits and trains dedicated foster families to house the unaccompanied minors while they work toward legal status. Youngsters come to JCCA from various countries and continents, including Mexico, Honduras,El Salvador, Guatemala, Africa, and India.
How are foster parents selected?
Foster parents are selected based on a rigorous and thorough assessment.Because of the unique nature of the children, extensive training is required and all foster parents must take care to remain in compliance. Children from other foster care programs cannot be in the home.Placements are made with the expectation that children will remain in the same home until they are discharged from the program.
- Placement with a specially-trained foster parent
- Monthly home visits by JCCA social workers
- Help with school enrollment and educational supports
- Mental health services, including psychiatric evaluations, therapy, and medication management
- Medical treatment and follow-up, including an assigned nurse
- Youth skills training, including skills assessments, daily living and socialization skills, monthly workshops, and acculturation services
- Case management, including exploration and vetting of sponsors, risk assessments,and other services, as needed
- Legal services, including visits with attorneys in preparation for asylum, T-Visa, or U-Visa cases
- Case manager accompanies client to legal appointments and court hearings
- Referrals to outside youth advocates and community service