Transitional Foster Care Recruiter, Iris Puhiera was recently interviewed on Philadelphia’s La Mega, Philadelphia’s #1 Spanish Speaking station. Ms. Puhiera discussed the Transitional Foster Care program and shed some light on the needs of unaccompanied minors fleeing to the United States.
Each day, hundreds of children seek refuge in the United States. In 2021, a record 122,000 unaccompanied migrant children fled to the US. (Source) These unaccompanied minors are escaping poverty, violence, and exploitation. They make impossible treks across thousands of miles with few, if any possessions, seeking safety and opportunity in America.
Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is one of the largest providers of social services in the state of Pennsylvania. CSS serves tens of thousands of individuals each year through programs that help homeless men and women, pregnant moms, individuals with intellectual disabilities, senior citizens and more.
Catholic Social Services is responding to the needs of unaccompanied minor children through the Transitional Foster Care (TFC) program. This program is for 5-17 year old, Spanish-speaking unaccompanied minors who have migrated to the United States from Mexico, Central America and South America. The TFC program at Catholic Social Services believes that an unaccompanied minor’s country of origin does not make them any less worthy of a safe, loving home.
Ultimately, the goal of TFC is the reunification of unaccompanied, minor children with family members residing in the United States.
Transitional Foster Care is a short-term foster care program that provides a safe, temporary home for unaccompanied minor migrant children entering the United States. Unaccompanied minor children flee their country of origin to escape violence, abuse, trafficking, exploitation and poverty. They are seeking a new home in the United States that will provide freedom and safety.
Children escaping to the United States often arrive with only the clothing on their backs. They do not speak English. They are often hungry or malnourished and in need of medical care from the long journey. Children migrating to the United States generally flee from places like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. However, children are flooding into the United States from many other countries around the world, seeking asylum and safety.
Unaccompanied minor children escaping to the United States have an immediate need for food, clothing and medical care. They need a safe, loving environment and caring foster parents who will help them through their first weeks in the United States. Foster parents in the program open their homes to these children, provide them with a safe, loving place to live for several weeks until they can be reunified with family members in the US. The Transitional Foster Care program helps foster parents provide food, clothing, medical treatment and education.
TFC is different from the traditional foster care program provided by Catholic Social Services. The Transitional Foster Care program is temporary and focuses only on the unique needs of unaccompanied minor children migrating to the United States.
Without the Transitional Foster Care program, unaccompanied children face deportation to their country of origin. They would face deportation and would again be at risk for abuse, trafficking and even death.
Transitional Foster Care is seeking qualified parents to open their homes for these children. To qualify, individuals must be at least 21 years old, a legal US citizen and be able to pass appropriate background checks. Transitional Foster Care parents must complete our training program, provide medical information, demonstrate a steady income, have a valid driver’s license and car insurance. Foster parents must be able to provide children with transportation to school on a daily basis. A modest, daily stipend is provided to parents who qualify and receive a placement.
For information, email TFCInfo@chs-adphial.org.