When refugee and immigrant children arrive in the United States without a parent or loved one to provide the shelter, security and sustenance they deserve, LIRS and our network partners are there to support them. Read more here about how you can help: http://lirs.org/fostercare/.
LIRS and its partners provide specialized foster care services for unaccompanied immigrant children. Over the years the program has grown to include children from around the world, including Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, Burma, Afghanistan, Iraq, India, Ukraine, and Mexico. LIRS’s partner network ensures that children placed in their care receive the services and support they need to be successful in adapting to a new country, culture, and home.
Our partner Morrison Child and Family Services, based in Portland, Oregon, believes that all children and youth—especially those coping with adversity and trauma—deserve a stable home full of love and hope for the future. As the largest provider of community-based services in Oregon, Morrison works in partnership with schools, neighborhoods, and families to help meet the needs of young people in our communities.
A significant part of Morrison’s success is due to the dedicated foster families who work hard to provide youth of all backgrounds a safe and loving environment. While living in these foster homes, these children begin to thrive and look forward to a successful future.
A Morrison staff member describes the impact foster families have on unaccompanied immigrant children:
Having active and caring foster families is very important for this population. Our clients come from vulnerable and often traumatic situations. They arrive in need of food, clothing, medical care and most importantly, a place to once again feel safe and like they can trust someone. The families are also responsible for introducing the kids to the community through various activities and outings. These outings aid the kids in the process of acculturation, teach them about U.S. cultural norms and expectations, and help them start feeling like a part of the community.
Morrison’s Micasa Transitional Foster Care program provides culturally specific foster care services to children and youth from Central and South American countries. Micasa Transitional Foster Care works with Latino youth under the age of 14. They offer a safe environment for youth within foster families for about 3-4 weeks as the children await reunification with family members in the United States. During this time, Morrison offers children access to educational and legal services, as well as mental health, medical, and dental services.
The Micasa Long-Term Program provides teenage boys (14-18) with a foster family. Once these youths arrive in the United States, they are identified as not having any family in the United States or in their country of origin. Foster families in this program mentor youth on life skills and support them as they attend school in the families’ communities. The program provides education and English language support, cultural identity and adjustment support, family tracing and therapeutic support for possible trauma. To find out more about Morrison’s programs check out their homepage at www.morrisonkids.org
Despite Morrison’s great efforts to recruit foster parents, many foster homes are still needed for their Transitional and Long-Term Foster Care Programs. The number of children arriving from Central and South American countries have increased dramatically over the past few years requiring LIRS and Morrison to increase their efforts and recruit more homes. Will you help us find homes for the many children awaiting placement by becoming a foster parent?
If you are not ready to become a foster parent just yet, volunteers are always needed to help put on recruitment events, group activities, mentoring for an immigrant child, and connecting LIRS and its partners to churches, organizations and other resources which can bring new foster families! To find out more information about how you can help find foster homes visit http://lirs.org/fostercare/.