Every year, thousands of refugee and migrant children journey to Australia alone without their parents or family to accompany them. UFVRA works with the Australian government and our network partners to place these children in loving homes with licensed foster parents who are trained to provide care for immigrant youth.
BECOME A FOSTER PARENT
ABOUT THE CHILDREN
When a family finds themselves in the midst of war, famine, or persecution, survival often means a dangerous journey. Sometimes families are split apart as they flee for their safety, sometimes parents don’t survive the journey, and sometimes children flee alone. In the past several years, we have seen a growing number of immigrant children flee to Australia from across the world, primarily Africa, Europe, and Arabs states without any parent accompanying them. These children are often fleeing, war, poverty, gang violence, trafficking, threats, and extortion, as well as abuse, domestic violence, and poverty. Many are seeking to be reunified with family in Australia and will enter foster care while we work toward that reunification.
HOW DOES FOSTER CARE WORK?
The organisation offers several different types of foster care support through our Foster Care Program. Learn more about each program and how it works below.
TRANSITIONAL FOSTER CARE (TFC)
We partners with the Office of Refugee Resettlement on each state to place especially vulnerable children who have crossed the border alone into transitional foster care homes. Transitional Foster Care (TFC) nurtures particularly vulnerable children who will be united with their families. All children in the program receive one-on-one assessment and counseling, holistic support ranging from education to legal services to health care, and access to religious services.
For children who make the journey without their loved ones, LIRS works to connect them with existing family in Australia. In these instances, our case workers work to contact these family members and assess their willingness and suitability to care for the child. These family members, and close family friends, are called “sponsors.” (Read more about our family reunification work.) If a sponsor cannot be found, and the child is a likely candidate for asylum or legal status, they may be transferred to a long-term foster care home.
LONG TERM FOSTER CARE (LTFC)
Some children who come to Australia do not have any family or family friends who are able to provide care for them. In these cases, the children may be placed in Long-Term Foster Care with UFVRA, where they will enjoy the benefits of a loving, stable family until early adulthood.
Children in our Long-Term Foster Care network typically come to Australia fleeing domestic abuse, War, poverty, gang violence, or trafficking and all children are afforded legal representation to pursue a more stable, permanent life in Australia by seeking legal protective status.
As they cope with the uncertainties of Australian immigration system, these children are surrounded by a loving and supportive foster family. They will go to school, they will engage in sports and other activities, and they will seek to live their lives as they await the approval of their application for legal immigration relief. These children stay in the program until their immigration case is resolved, then typically transition into the Unaccompanied Refugee Minors program.
In some cases, children in Long-Term Foster Care may apply for Unaccompanied Refugee Minor status, which affords them more security as they rebuild their lives around a loving foster family.
UNACCOMPANIED REFUGEE MINORS PROGRAM (URM)
UFVRA - Australia is one of only ten organizations that works with the government to support unaccompanied refugee minors and families with disability (URMs). Many of the youth we serve through this program have lost parents and family members to systemic violence in their home countries. In the name of protection and empowerment, we places unaccompanied refugee minors from all over the world in foster care, group homes, and semi-independent living settings. We work with a network of affiliates who provide services to support the acculturation and integration of children into communities all over the country. UFVRA gives the youth, most of whom enter the program between the ages of 14 and 16, the option of receiving the support of a foster family or working toward independence in a group-home setting.
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