Outcomes For Youth Served By The Unaccompanied Refugee Minor Foster Care Program: A Pilot Study (Special Issue On The Intersection Of Immigration And Child Welfare, Second Of Two Issues).
Pardue-Kim, Kerri. Crea, Morgan Coleman, Thomas M. Diebold, Lindsay. Underwood, Kylie.
Published: March-April 2019
Vol. 96, No. 6 , p. 87-106
Child Welfare League of America (CWLA)
727 15th Street, NW 12th Floor
Washington, DC 20005
The Unaccompanied Refugee Minor (URM) Foster Care Program annually serves about 1,300 foreign-born youth with legal eligibility. This paper shows results from a cross-sectional, descriptive pilot study (n = 30 interviews) in the domains of education, employment, health, mental health, risky behaviors, and social connections. Results show that most URM youth (86.7%) had graduated from high school, 50.0% were in college, and 86.7% were employed. Many youth (60%) reported being in optimal health, 76.7% were happy, and 96.7% had a positive outlook for the future. Most URMs (83.3%) had a best friend, and 70.0% had people to talk to when feeling low, however 76.7% (n = 23) worried about being abandoned. Additionally, one URM reported engaging in multiple risky behaviors. Comparisons are made to youth in foster care who were born in the United States and show for example, that URMs are enrolled in higher education and satisfied with foster care services at statistically significant higher rates—but that they are insured at significantly lower levels than domestic youth exiting foster care. Future research is needed to examine economic security for young adults who are refugees and immigrants. Longitudinal research is also needed to see how independent living skills are developed and utilized over time. URMs could benefit from some contact with case managers or foster care alumni after discharge. (Author abstract)
foster adolescents; independent living skills; children of immigrants; unaccompanied children; academic achievement; federal programs; child health; mental health; socialization; refugees; outcomes