Unaccompanied Children Released to Sponsors by County

When a child who is not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian is apprehended by immigration authorities, the child is transferred to the care and custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).  Federal law requires that ORR feed, shelter, and provide medical care for unaccompanied children until it is able to release them to safe settings with sponsors (usually family members), while they await immigration proceedings. These sponsors live in many states.

Sponsors are adults who are suitable to provide for the child’s physical and mental well-being and have not engaged in any activity that would indicate a potential risk to the child. All sponsors must pass a background check. The sponsor must agree to ensure the child’s presence at all future immigration proceedings. They also must agree to ensure the minor reports to ICE for removal from the United States if an immigration judge issues a removal order or voluntary departure order.

HHS is engaging with state officials to address concerns they may have about the care or impact of unaccompanied children in their states, while making sure the children are treated humanely and consistent with the law as they go through immigration court proceedings that will determine whether they will be removed and repatriated, or qualify for some form of relief.

HHS has strong policies in place to ensure the privacy and safety of unaccompanied children by maintaining the confidentiality of their personal information. These children may have histories of abuse or may be seeking safety from threats of violence. They may have been trafficked or smuggled.  HHS cannot release information about individual children that could compromise the child’s location or identity.

The following table shows county-level data for unaccompanied children released to sponsors by the counties/county equivalents where the sponsors live, where 50 or more children have been released for FY 2016 (since October 1, 2015) as of December 31, 2015.  This data covers 59 counties nationwide and comprises 9,226 of the 14,569 total children released to sponsors in this period. ACF will update this data each month. See the state-by-state data.

State County

Total Number of UC Released  to Sponsors in FY16 YTD (October 2015 – December 2015)

AZ Maricopa County 73
CA Alameda County 131
CA Contra Costa County 66
CA Los Angeles County 916
CA Orange County 86
CA Riverside County 87
CA San Diego County 56
CA San Francisco County 62
CA San Mateo County 67
CA Santa Clara County 68
CT Fairfield County 94
DE Sussex County 75
FL Broward County 116
FL Collier County 103
FL Hillsborough County 64
FL Lee County 114
FL Miami-Dade County 357
FL Orange County 68
FL Palm Beach County 401
GA DeKalb County 101
GA Gwinnett County 102
MD Baltimore County 101
MD Montgomery County 341
MD Prince George's County 447
MD Baltimore City 100
MA Essex County 79
MA Middlesex County 77
MA Suffolk County 162
NV Clark County 75
NJ Bergen County 83
NJ Essex County 92
NJ Hudson County 96
NJ Mercer County 53
NJ Union County 197
NY Bronx County 60
NY Kings County 111
NY Nassau County 319
NY Queens County 232
NY Suffolk County 388
NY Westchester County 81
NC Mecklenburg County 133
OH Hamilton County 65
TN Davidson County 112
TN Hamilton County 63
TN Shelby County 92
TX Dallas County 268
TX Harris County 902
TX Tarrant County 62
TX Travis County 111
VA Arlington County 57
VA Chesterfield County 59
VA Fairfax County 393
VA Loudoun County 105
VA Prince William County 160
VA Alexandria city 52
VA Richmond city 69
WA King County 58

See the FY15 county level data
See the FY14 county level data

For more information, please read ORR’s reunification policy.

Last Reviewed: January 27, 2016