Domestic vs. Refugee Foster Care

There are some significant differences between domestic foster care and refugee foster care:

Domestic Foster Care
Refugee Foster Care
Newborn -
18 y.o
typically 16-17 y.o
Mostly males
Reunification with birth parents, unless parental rights have been terminated.
living once they age out of the system at the age of 21 y.o
Parental Visits
If parental rights have not been terminated,
the frequency of the required visits depends on the child's age.
No parental visits. Birth parents are either deceased or "missing" outside of the U.S.
Adoption Eligibility
If parental rights have been terminated by a court, the child becomes eligible for adoption.
Not eligible for adoption, because birth parents rights were never terminated.
Place of Origin
Anywhere in the U.S.
Prior to coming to the U.S,
refugee foster children live in refugee camps all around the world.
They are only brought to the US once they have matched with a licensed family.
Most Muslim refugee foster kids,
are currently coming from Africa and the Far East.
None are coming from the Middle East at this time.
Trauma Experienced
Varies greatly. Physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect,
substance abuse,
removal from family.
Same as domestic, as well as new country,
new language,
new culture,
likely to have experienced exposure to war.
Likely to have experienced interrupted schooling.
Likely to have missed many years of formal schooling.
Licensing Procedure
3-6 months starting with an orientation.
Same as domestic, plus minor additional steps, such as TB screening for the foster parents.
Cannot travel outside the state of residence without the consent of birth parents.
Cannot travel outside the state of residence without the permission of the court.