Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program

Foster Parents Needed!

Join the only foster care program in New England exclusively caring for Unaccompanied Refugee Minors!
Ascentria’s Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URM) program provides long-term foster care services to refugee and immigrant youth that have come to the United States seeking safety without a parent or guardian to care for them. If your heart is called to help immigrants from crises, such as the record-breaking number of unaccompanied children entering the US, this program is a way to make a tremendous impact.
Ready to learn more about fostering an unaccompanied youth?

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Our URM Program provides foster care to youth fleeing dangerous circumstances in their home countries and seeking safety in the United States, but whom are without a parent or guardian to care for them. The URM program is contracted by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) to provide licensing of foster parents for unaccompanied refugee minors. We are committed to recruiting, training and supporting a diverse network of foster parents to care for this unique population of youth.
Ascentria welcomes foster parents of all kinds, whether homeowners or renters, single or married, first-time parents or experienced parents. Ascentria does not discriminate against foster parent applicants on the basis of race, color, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, age, religion, or nationality.  
Ascentria is committed to being a safe and inclusive space for LGBTQ+ children, youth, parents and families.

We are proud to announce that we were recognized in the 2022 Cycle of the Human Right's Campaigns All Children - All Families (ACAF) initiative. With the support of ACAF, Ascentria's Children and Family Services programs are taking active steps toward improving LGBTQ+ inclusivity, including policy changes, staff training, and external communications updates.

Visit our list of LGBTQ+ community resources here.

Who Are Unaccompanied Refugee Minors?

Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URMs) arrived to our program under the age of 18 and resettled alone in the United States, without a parent, relative or other adult to care for them. URM youth are typically ages 16 to 22, are about 75% male, and come from 24 countries around the world. URMs fled dangerous circumstances in their home countries leading them to obtain one of the unique legal statuses below:

Afghan Humanitarian Parolee Minors

Asylee Minors


Refugee Minors

Special Immigrant Juveniles

Victims of Trafficking

Afghan Humanitarian Parolee Minors

Young people who arrived to the U.S. starting in August of 2021 as a result of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the subsequent takeover by the Taliban. Afghan youth are typically in short term foster care programs or shelters across the U.S. prior to arriving to Massachusetts.

Asylee Minors

Youth who meet the same definition as a Refugee, but arrived to the U.S. of their own accord. Asylee youth are typically in detention, shelters or short term foster care programs across the U.S. prior to arriving to Massachusetts.

Refugee Minors

Youth identified overseas and legally designated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), due to a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, or political opinion. Unaccompanied Refugee youth are placed directly into foster care upon their arrival to Massachusetts.

Special Immigrant Juveniles

Youth granted status in the U.S. because of a history of abuse, neglect or abandonment by a caregiver. SIJ youth are typically in detention, shelters or short term foster care programs across the U.S. prior to arriving to Massachusetts.

Victims of Trafficking

Youth granted status in the U.S. because of a history of forced labor or sexual exploitation. Youth that are survivors of trafficking are typically in detention, shelters or short term foster care programs across the U.S. prior to arriving to Massachusetts.

Join Us for an Upcoming Webinar Wednesday

Attend one of our no-obligation information sessions online.


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Steps to Becoming a Foster Parent

Our licensed recruiters make it easy for you to start the process of opening your home to a child or teen in need of a safe, nurturing environment.

Inquire, Apply, and Background Check

Contact our foster parent recruitment specialists to start the process!

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Training and Home Study

After your application has been approved, you will attend a state-mandated training followed by a series of home visits in order to get to know your family better.

You will be able to set the pace for how quickly to proceed through this important step.

Licensing and Matching

If the background check, training and home study are completed, and your family is a good fit for the URM program, you will officially become a licensed foster parent! Your family resource coordinator will work with your team to match you with a youth in care.

Now the real journey begins! You will be closely supported by a team of professionals as you welcome a new family member. This partnership will continue as we collectively work to empower the youth toward reaching their full potential and the goal of living an independent and fulfilling life.


Not Ready to Become a Foster Parent? You Can Still Help Young People in Care! 

Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions

Our URM team can assist you with any questions you may have. Send us a message using the contact form below to start speaking with a foster parent recruiter.
I am single, can I be a foster parent?
I'm a member of the LGBTQ+ community, can I be a foster parent?
Can I work full-time?
Do I need to own my own home?
Does the youth need their own room?
How long does it take to become a foster parent?
Do you receive children who were separated from their parents at the U.S. border?
How can I help unaccompanied children in Massachusetts?
What are the ages of URMs in need of care?
Why doesn't your program have young children in care?
How long are URMs in foster care?
How will this impact my daily life?
I have young children, is it safe for me to foster an unaccompanied teenager?
Will I be eligible to adopt my URM foster child?
Are URMs ever reunited with their families of origin?
What languages do URMs speak?


✓ Be at least 25 years old
✓ Be a resident of Massachusetts
✓ Pass a Massachusetts CORI check
✓ You must have available bedroom space in your home (you are not required to own your own home)
✓ Single, partnered or married, all are welcome!


  • Complete a 30-hour Massachusetts Approach to Partnership in Parenting (MAPP) course provided by Ascentria
  • Complete a CPR/First Aid certification training provided by Ascentria
  • Complete a program orientation training
  • Agree to complete 20 hours a year per foster parent of additional training, provided twice monthly through Ascentria.

Download an Info Packet

URM graduating class of 2017

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Meet Our Recruiters

Our recruiters are available to answer any questions you may have about helping youth in foster care.


Annick Uwineza

Annick is the Foster Parent Recruitment Coordinator for Ascentria’s Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URM) program. Annick has been working with Ascentria since March 2022 and works with the recruitment team to find new foster parents for our refugee and migrant youth in care. Please feel free to contact Annick directly via email at auwineza@ascentria.org or by phone at 508.340.7586.

Antonella Leal

Antonella is  the Foster Parent Recruitment Coordinator for Ascentria’s Division of Unaccompanied Children’s Services (DUCS) program. Antonella has been working with Ascentria’s  team of recruiters since March of 2022, finding new foster parents for our unaccompanied children in care. Please feel free to contact Antonella directly via email at aleal@ascentria.org or by phone at 508.340.9333.

Our Locations

11 Shattuck Street
Worcester, MA 01605
Phone: 774.243.3068
Fax: 508.519.8310


230 Second Ave, Ste 125
Waltham, MA 02451 
Phone: 774.243.3068
Fax: 508.519.8310