URM Frequently Asked Questions

Are you receiving children who are being separated from their parents at the U.S. border?
At this time, we are not. Ascentria Care Alliance runs the following two programs related to unaccompanied minors – The Unaccompanied Refugee Minor Program and The Division for Children’s Services Program. These programs provide foster care for youth with varying immigration statuses from a variety of countries who do not have a parent or guardian to care for them. 

How can I get information about children who are being separated from their parents at the U.S. border?
The Office for Refugee Resettlement (ORR) is responsible for children who are separated from their parents. Please visit their website here or call 202.401.9246.

How can I help?
You can help in variety of ways. If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, please fill out this inquiry form. If you’d like to volunteer, please let us know about your interest here. Want to donate, click here. Please consider advocating as well. 

How can I advocate for children who are being separated from their parents at the U.S. border?
We encourage you to contact your local representatives

What are the ages of URMs in need of care?
URMs range in age from 4 to 22 years old.

How long are URMs in foster care?
In the state of Massachusetts, at the age of 18, youth are able to sign a voluntary placement agreement and remain in care as long as they continue to pursue their education. The majority of our youth are between ages 15 and 17.

Will I be eligible to adopt my URM?
Unlike traditional foster children, refugee minors are generally not eligible for adoption. However, recent policy changes from the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and The Office for Refugee Resettlement (ORR) now permits adoption of children in the URMP, under very specific circumstances.

Are URMs ever reunited with their families of origin?
If there is an opportunity for a URM to be reunified with family, then the program works with the youth to assist and prioritize this process. However, most of our URMs do not have any potential reunification opportunities.

What languages do URMs speak?
Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URMs) speak a range of different languages from Lingala to Swahili. All URMs are learning English. Families must be creative in communicating with URMs.

What are the requirements to be a foster parent?
Applicants must:
  • Be a legal permanent resident of Massachusetts 
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a responsible, mature and healthy adult able to meet the needs of a youth
  • Have a clean criminal record for the past 5 years with no history of abusing children
  • Have a home that meets safety requirements and standards
I am single. Can I be a foster parent?

Can I work full time?
Many families juggle work and family life. This is not a problem.

Do I need to own my own home?
Absolutely not. The only requirement is that your residence must meet safety standards.

Does the URM need their own room?
No, they can share a bedroom with other children, as long ages and genders are appropriate together.

May I choose the gender, race and age of the child I would like to foster?
You and your foster care worker will determine the best possible match for your family which includes consideration for the gender, cultural background and age of the youth.

May I foster more than one URM?
Absolutely! As long as your home meets the requirements, and we determine that you can care for multiple youth.

How do I pay the cost associated with caring for a URM?
The Ascentria URM program contracts with the Department of Children and Family (DCF) of Massachusetts to reimburse you for the expenses of fostering a refugee minor. These expenses include food, clothing, household necessities, the added cost of an extra person as it impacts utilities costs, transportation, etc. The exact rate is determined by the State and the number of calendar days the child is in your home.

Who pays for the medical/dental/vision/ hearing, prescriptions and mental health services for these youth?
Young people in the custody of the State of Massachusetts receive Masshealth insurance, the state provided insurance program that covers medical/dental/vision/hearing, prescriptions and mental health services. 

How long does it take to become a foster parent and what is required?
There are a lot of factors that determine how long the licensing process takes. Most applicants can complete the process in two to three months.

Once I have my certification, how long before I can welcome a refugee youth into my home?
It depends on how open you are to older teens, various cultural backgrounds and sibling groups. We want to make sure that you are fostering a youth who is a good match for your family. We are committed to working WITH you to make sure that you have a positive experience.

Why should I become part of the Ascentria family?
There are a lot of different agencies you could work with. We are a small agency with more than 30 years of experience in this field, and over 140 years of serving children in the region. We are also the only agency in New England to exclusively serve refugee young people. We have the resources and experience of a much larger agency but our size and commitment provides the personal connection of a small family. We believe that our best asset is that when you work with us we treat you like family. We recognize that when you bring a young person into your home, one who truly needs your care and support -- that you will need the personal and professional support that we can provide. Ascentria also administers intensive foster care programs for American young people in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. We work with children and families who need our services, regardless of their background or belief.

I still have more questions. Who can I talk to?
We would love to hear from you. Please feel free to email us or call us at 508.450.7284.

Please contact us or call us at 774.243.3062. We will be happy to talk with you about the program and answer any questions you have about becoming a foster parent.


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230 Second Ave, Suite 125
Waltham, MA 02451 

11 Shattuck Street
Worcester, MA 01605

Phone: 774.243.3068
Fax: 508.519.8310 ‚Äč

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