September 13, 2022

Your Frequently Asked Questions on Refugee Foster Care

Through Catholic Community Services’ Refugee Foster Care program, unaccompanied refugee minors are placed in foster care homes and have the option to stay in the program until they turn 21. While in the program, a team of Family Consultants, Case Managers, and Transition to Adult Living Coaches work with foster families to help the youth reach their goals and prepare for long-term self-sufficiency.  

Before starting the licensing process to become a licensed foster home, many families have questions! We wanted to answer some of the most asked questions we get about refugee foster care.  

What is the average age range of youth in the CCS Refugee Foster Care program?  

The average age range of the youth is 14-17 years old.  

What countries are many of the youth coming from?  

Right now, the youth in the program are from Myanmar, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Bhutan, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, Guinea, Libya, Liberia, the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Sudan, and Burundi. With the refugee crisis constantly changing, the nationalities of the youth in the program change as well.  

What are the youth’s backgrounds and reasons for coming to Utah?  

The background of the youth in the program varies based on the individual. Most, if not all, of the youth were forced to flee their homes due to war, persecution, abuse, or trafficking. The youth have either been separated from their families or orphaned.  

Where are the youth living before they enter a refugee foster family’s home?  

Many of the youth are staying in refugee camps, NGO sponsored camps, or detention centers before they come to the U.S. and enter a foster family’s home. During this time, they are waiting for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to interview them, assess their need for resettlement, and qualify them as an Unaccompanied Refugee Minor (URM).  

Do the youth have any special educational needs?  

Most of the youth are not fluent in English. CCS connects youth with ESL resources in the community and provides tutors to help them learn English!  

How long do youth stay with the foster family?  

The youth live in the home until 18-21 years old, at which point they transition into self-sufficiency. Many families become a permanent part of the youth’s’ lives even after they exit the program. This can look like inviting the youth home for Sunday dinners, for family members’ birthdays, or to celebrate holidays! At CCS, we hope that the youth stay in the foster family’s hearts forever.  

What does transitioning out of the foster home look like?  

Just like any child, our refugee youth transition into adult living during their time in the program. In the Refugee Foster Care program at CCS, our Transition to Adult Living Coaches help teach the youth life skills, including how to rent an apartment, register for college classes, and apply for jobs. Once the youth leave the program, the goal is for them to be completely self-sufficient.  

Are you interested in learning more about Refugee Foster Care? Attend our next Refugee Foster Parents Information Meeting! 

Information Meetings are held via Zoom on the first Wednesday of every month at 6:30 pm. For any questions on becoming a foster parent or to RSVP for the next Information Meeting, please email us at