Tens of thousands of refugee youth arrive to the U.S. alone every year, mostly from war-torn countries where they have lost their entire families. Catholic Charities’ St. Jerome Emiliani Foster Care program provides a nurturing environment for unaccompanied refugee children and youth, many who have escaped devastating situations in their native lands. Through foster families and supportive services, we help them heal and thrive.
St. Jerome’s is an international foster care program with community homes throughout the Houston metropolitan area. All community homes have the capacity to care for up to five males and/or five females (this includes biological children). Youth in our program differ from youth in domestic foster care as they are usually long-term placements.
These homes are meant to be long term placement homes for our youth. Youth may come into a placement home once they have been assessed in the assessment home or directly from their previous placement. Youth may be in a placement home until they reunify with family, move into our Supervised Independent Living Program, discharge, or age out of the program.
These homes provide temporary care to youth in our program when placement foster parents are unable to. These can be on occasions such as vacation, family emergencies, foster parent emergencies, etc. These homes will then care for the youth until their placement foster parents return.
Additional services provided by the program include:
- Indirect financial support for housing, food, clothing, and other necessities
- Intensive case management by a social worker
- Independent living skills training
- Education/English as a Second Language (ESL)
- Job skills training and career/college counseling
- Mental health services
- On-going family tracing, where possible cultural activities/recreation
- Special education services, when needed
- Legal assistance
Minors of all ages who have been designated as a refugee, an asylee, or a victim of human trafficking. The program also serves minors who are in federal custody awaiting designation of status, (i.e., asylum or Special Immigrant Juvenile Status) who require long-term foster care due to the amount of time the legal process takes, varying from 3-36 months.
These youth are referred to us through our funders United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Many of these youth have fled their home country due to war, abuse and neglect, and other violence related crimes. These youth have had adverse experiences and are in need of homes that will provide a therapeutic, safe, and nurturing environment.
- Must be at least 25 years old
- May be single (non cohabitating) or married*
- Consent to and clear background check
- Be financially self sufficient
- Physically and emotionally stable
- Have adequate living space
- Attend pre-service training
- Participate in Home Study
*as defined in our Code of Ethics
Due to the capacity of the case management work that is provided to our youth and families, we only service foster homes in the Houston Metropolitan area.
The process in becoming a foster parent can take a minimum of 3 months. This process includes; intake, orientation, training, and a home study. If you are interested in beginning this process, please begin by filling out our online questionnaire.
Frequently Asked Questions
How old are the youth?
Do you have adoption services?
How do I know if I am within the Houston Metropolitan Area?
What population do you serve?
Where is the biggest need?
Where are the birth families?
How many hours of training must I complete to become a foster parent and do both my spouse and I have to complete all preservice requirements and training?
What if both parents work?
How soon are youth placed in the home?
I don't want to be a foster parent, but I want to help. What can I do?
If you are interested in helping this population of youth, there are a few alternatives to becoming a foster parent. You can be a volunteer tutor, or offer to teach a life skill to the youth in our program. If you are interested in any of these options please reach out to us at SJEHCRecruitment@catholiccharities.org.