Unaccompanied Children's Services

On March 1, 2003, the Homeland Security Act of 2002, Section 462, transferred responsibilities for the care and placement of unaccompanied children from the Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service to the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

Since then, ORR has cared for more than 175,000 children, incorporating child welfare values as well as the principles and provisions established by the Flores Agreement in 1997, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and its reauthorization acts, the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2005 and 2008.

Unaccompanied children apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) immigration officials are transferred to the care and custody of ORR. ORR promptly places an unaccompanied child in the least restrictive setting that is in the best interests of the child, taking into consideration danger to self, danger to the community, and risk of flight. ORR takes into consideration the unique nature of each child’s situation and incorporates child welfare principles when making placement, clinical, case management, and release decisions that are in the best interest of the child. 

ORR Guide: Children Entering the United States Unaccompanied

The UC Policy Guide (ORR Policy Guide: Children Entering the United States Unaccompanied)

Describes policies for the placement, timely release and care of unaccompanied children in ORR custody.  It is a living document that may be updated as new policies are incorporated into the program or current policies are modified.

UCS Key Documents thumbnailKey Documents for the Unaccompanied Children's Services Program


Read More About UCS


  • Zika Fact Sheets

    Published: June 28, 2016
    Zika Fact Sheets
  • Unaccompanied Children Services Fact Sheet

    Published: January 26, 2016
    This fact sheet provides background on ORR's role in providing care and placement for unaccompanied children coming to the U.S. without an adult guardian.   
  • Report Forms

    Published: January 6, 2016
    Report Forms - This section provides Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) report forms for all federal grants
  • Policy Guidance/State Letters

    Published: August 14, 2015
    Indices of letters sent to State Refugee Coordinators during each calendar year on pertinent issues for State administered refugee programs.
  • State of California - UC Legal Services Providers

    Published: February 5, 2015
    State of California - UC Legal Services Providers
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