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Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program

The Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URM) program takes responsibility for refugee children who arrive in the U.S. with no parent or guardian. The program places the minors in foster care with specially-trained local families and provides culturally and linguistically appropriate social services support to include:

  • Training foster families
  • Assisting the minors with educational and medical issues
  • Helping these refugee children to adjust to life in America
  • Preparing them to live independently as adults

Washington’s Department of Social & Health Services (DSHS) provides unaccompanied refugee minors with the same range of child welfare benefits and services available to other children in Washington who require such services. The benefits and services allowed include:

  • Foster care maintenance payments (room, board, and clothing)
  • Medical assistance
  • Expenses incurred in establishing legal responsibility
  • Extended Foster Care 
  • Educational Training Vouchers

The Office of Refugee Resettlement  and DSHS work together to provide a smooth transition for unaccompanied refugee children. DSHS contracts with Lutheran Community Services Northwest and Catholic Community Services to provide direct services to refugee minors. The enrollment ceiling is currently at 100 slots annually. 

There’s always a need for caring and loving families to foster refugee children. For more information about how to become a Refugee Foster Parent under this program, please contact one of our URM Providers below:

Catholic Community Services

Lutheran Community Services Northwest  

Additional information about becoming a foster parent in Washington state, can be found at the Department of Social and Health Services, Children's Administration website.

ORIA Program Manager Contact Information: 

Sherrill Hilliard

(360) 725-4527

sherrill.hilliard@dshs.wa.gov