Help Refugee Foster Youth

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Michigan Refugee Foster
Program & Mentor Assistance

Our Unaccompanied Refugee Minor 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 youth. Most youth are placed in refugee foster care to provide the home and family environment that is ideal for young people. Some youth need more assistance to recover from past traumas and are placed in our therapeutic foster care program. As youth mature and gain independence, they often graduate to a host 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.

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

Email: Kayla Park

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.

Transitional Foster Care

If you live in Lansing or Ann Arbor and are interested in fostering refugees but would prefer shorter-term placements or working with younger youth, consider transitional foster care. Transitional foster homes offer short-term care for youth who have crossed the US border in hopes of being united with a family member living in the United States. Most of these children are Spanish-speaking and between the ages of 5 and 13 years old. These placements are usually shorter than 45 days, during which time our agency works to locate the child’s parents or other family members for unification. Transitional foster parents must meet requirements for foster parent licensing and training set by the State of Michigan .


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.


Foster Parents

  • Orientation (recruitment specialist will assist with scheduling)
  • PRIDE trainings (licensing worker will assist with scheduling)
  • Refugee 101 (Refugee Foster Parent Trainer will provide training)
  • Additional trainings for therapeutic foster families
  • Refugee-specific trainings as needed (schedule provided quarterly by Refugee Foster Parent Trainer)

Mentors or tutors

  • Interview with Mentor/Tutor Coordinator
  • Mentor/tutor training (scheduled as needed by Mentor/Tutor Coordinator