Help Refugee Foster Youth

Michigan Refugee Foster
Program & Mentor Assistance

Middle-age man smiles while putting arms around the shoulders of their teenage foster childOur Refugee Foster Care Program serves youth who flee from war, violence or persecution in dozens of countries. By the time they get to the United States, they’ve been separated from and often lost contact with parents and other family members who can care for them and have often suffered great traumas – and they’re not even 18 years old.

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This program provides a variety of different services for refugee youth. Most youth are placed in local foster homes to provide the family environment that is ideal for young people. As youth mature and gain independence, they often graduate to a "Rent-a-Room" home, providing less supervision and more general guidance about how to live on their own.

Many youth in the program may be matched with a mentor, who will be a positive role model and help them adjust to the customs and culture of the United States. Many youth also have a tutor who helps them learn in a new educational system and develop positive study habits.


Refugee Foster Care

Foster families provide a safe, nurturing and stable environment for these refugee youth who do not have parents or adults who can provide care. They welcome the youth into their home and family, providing the same love and guidance as they would their biological children. Families that foster a child are paid a stipend by the agency to help offset the costs associated with fostering, such as having an additional person in the household.


Tutors help youth in refugee foster care succeed in a new educational system and develop positive study habits. Tutors must have a bachelor’s degree in any field of study and may work with one youth or several.

Host Homes (Rent a Room)

Host homes rent a room to youth who no longer need the extra guidance of a foster family, but are not ready to be entirely on their own. Unlike families fostering refugees, host families are not legally responsible for the youth in their home, but provide guidance and help teach skills necessary for successful independence, like cooking, budgeting, and maintaining a household. Host homes are paid monthly rent by the youth, negotiated before a youth moves into the home.


Mentors are volunteers who build a relationship of unconditional caring and friendship to help refugee youth learn independent living and social skills. As positive role models, mentors share their knowledge and experience to help the youth adjust to differences they experience in the United States. Mentors also help them explore educational and career choices. If you're interested in becoming a mentor, please fill out this application and send your completed form to


Interpreters facilitate effective communication for limited English proficient refugee foster children. They bridge the gap between language barriers and help the youth adjust to their new home. Interpreters are responsible for listening to, understanding, and translating spoken or written statements from one language to another. Interpreters who work with our refugee program are paid for providing this service and must be fluent in both English and one other target language.

Unaccompanied Child Long Term Foster Care Program

The UC Long Term Foster Care program provides long term foster care to unaccompanied children. These children either have no parent/legal guardian in the U.S. or do not have one available to provide physical custody in the U.S. The youth have no legal immigration status and remain under Federal Custody (through the Office of Refugee Resettlement) until a valid form of legal eligibility is established. Youth in this program can be 0-17; however, the majority are 12 to 17 years old.

Inquiries about how to foster a refugee child should go to: