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The Unaccompanied Refugee Minor (URM) program provides culturally and linguistically appropriate foster care and independent living placements for refugee-eligible unaccompanied minors in the United States. The goals of the URM program are first to reunify program youth with family or kin and second to provide programming that facilitates social, cultural and economic integration.
Although some of the first unaccompanied children placed in Colorado were Cuban in the 1960s, the URM program was developed in 1979 to address the needs of thousands of children in Southeast Asia without a parent or guardian to care for them. Nationally, the URM program is implemented through a partnership between the United States Department of Population, Refugees, and Migration and the Office of Refugee Resettlement by placing these children in foster placements through Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
In Colorado, the Colorado Department of Human Services administers the URM program through a collaborative partnership between the Colorado Refugee Services Program and the Division of Child Welfare. The program began in El Paso County in 2008 through foster placements at Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains. Currently, youth in the URM program are placed all along the Front Range in the custody of El Paso County and Denver County Departments of Human Service. Funding for the URM program comes from the Office of Refugee Resettlement. URM programs administered by states differ from the federally administered Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) program, operated through the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Learn more about the differences between these programs.
The URM program is fully funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which determines eligibility for the program. Learn more about the eligibility requirements on ORR’s website. Applications for the URM Program must be submitted to the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Learn more about the application process.
Eligible youth for the URM program must have an eligible legal status:
I-94 Arrival/departure record
I-571 Refugee Travel Document
I-766 Employment Authorization Document
I-730 Approval Letter
Order of an Immigration Judge Granting Asylum
Asylum Grant Letter from a USCIS Asylum Office
Written decision from the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA
Cuban and Haitian Entrants in accordance with the requirements in 45 CFR 401.2.
A Cuban or Haitian passport showing parole
I-221 Order to Show Cause and Notice of Hearing
I-862 Notice to Appear
I-220A Order of Release on Recognizance
I-122 Notice to Applicant Detained for a Hearing Before an Immigration Judge
I-221S Order to Show Cause, Notice of Hearing and Warrant for Arrest
Copy of I-589 date stamped by the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR)
USCIS receipt for filing I-589
Copy of I-485 date stamped by EOIR
Other applications for relief that have been date stamped by EOIR
Other documentation pertaining to an applicant's removal, exclusion or deportation proceeding
Eligibility Letter from ACF Office on Trafficking in Persons (OTIP)
I-797 Notice of Action indicating T status
I-797 Notice of Action indicating SIJS status, i.e. evidence of approved I-360, or evidence of approved I-360 and approved I-485 or
Visa indicating SIJS status with SL class of admission code or
I-551 indicating SIJS status with SL class of admission code and evidence that at the time a Dependency Order was issued, was either: in the custody of the ORR Unaccompanied Children Program or receiving federal benefits or services as a Cuban/Haitian Entrant
I-797 Notice of Action indicating U status
I-94 Arrival/departure record showing admission in U status