Standards for private organizations

2020 Edition

Services for Unaccompanied Children (UC) 14: Post-Release Services

Post-release services are individualized based on the assessed needs of the child and: 
  1. ensure child safety and well-being;
  2. provide linkages to necessary services and supports including legal services, education assistance, mental health counseling, and medical care:
  3. support a positive family reunification and family preservation; and
  4. help create a path to permanency.


Although the goal of post-release services is physical, emotional, and legal permanence, the attainment of permanency is complicated by the fact that children who are released to sponsors are still in active legal proceedings. Children who are not eligible for legal relief, or who do not comply with immigration court requirements, may receive an order of removal or opt for voluntary departure from the United States, ultimately affecting the long-term stability of their sponsorship placement.
NA The organization does not provide post-release services.
2020 Edition




Unaccompanied Children Services support youth safety and well-being, facilitate family involvement and provide necessary supports to children seeking physical and emotional safety and legal protection.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Assessment procedures
  • Service planning procedures
  • Copy of assessment tool
  • Service form/template
  • Procedures for the provision of post-release services
  • Procedures for referring children to services
  • Community resource and referral list
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Children served
    4. Sponsors
  • Review case records

UC 14.01

The organization works with the child and sponsor to provide child-focused, family-driven, and culturally and linguistically responsive post release services to:
  1. assess the child’s needs; and 
  2. develop a plan that specifies steps for obtaining necessary services based on the assessment.

UC 14.02

To facilitate family reunification and community integration, case managers work to build trust and establish rapport with the child and their sponsor by: 
  1. identifying family strengths and protective factors;
  2. actively engaging the family unit in goal-planning;
  3. building respectful, trust-based relationships with the child and sponsor; and
  4. empowering families to navigate unfamiliar systems and resources.

UC 14.03

Family reunification services promote family stability and ensure the child’s physical and psychological safety and well-being, and include: 
  1. continuous assessment and monitoring of the appropriateness of the placement;
  2. a minimum of three home visits;
  3. identifying resources to support the family’s basic needs;
  4. education on appropriate parenting skills and practices; and
  5. referrals for more intensive services and interventions.
Examples: In regards to element (d), parenting skills and practices may address: 
  1. using appropriate methods of discipline; 
  2. managing and coping with mood and behavior problems; 
  3. positive parent-child communication;
  4. decision-making; 
  5. collaborating effectively with the child’s service providers and relevant institutions.

UC 14.04

Case managers provide referrals to legal services and assist with court compliance by: 
  1. educating the family about the immigration process including possible forms of immigration relief and the importance of representation;
  2. serving as an intermediary between the child and legal service provider;
  3. helping the child and their sponsor prepare for and comply with immigration court requirements; and
  4. assisting the sponsor in initiating steps towards obtaining legal guardianship of the child, when appropriate.

Fundamental Practice

UC 14.05

Children are linked with culturally and linguistically sensitive mental health and medical services and receive education on the importance of mental health and physical well-being.
Example: Examples of cultural considerations include, but are not limited to: 
  1. lack of familiarity with systems and services;
  2. language barriers; 
  3. immigration status; 
  4. cultural views of mental health and treatments;
  5. concerns of stigma; and
  6. fear and mistrust.

UC 14.06

Education assistance includes:
  1. helping the sponsor with school enrollment;
  2. advocating for the child’s educational needs including access to ESL classes and tutoring;
  3. teaching the sponsor about the educational system and how to communicate with the child’s school; and
  4. providing the child with strategies for navigating the school environment.
Example: In regards to element (d), strategies can include techniques for: 
  1. making new friends/developing friendships;
  2. participating in extracurricular activities;
  3. avoiding gang violence;
  4. communicating with teachers and guidance counselors; 
  5. learning about American culture; and 
  6. responding to and reporting bullying, harassment, and/or inappropriate behavior from other students or school personnel.

UC 14.07

The organization works with local service providers to reduce barriers to care and coordinate referrals to community-based services and supports.
Example: Community-based services and supports can include: 
  1. acculturation and adjustment;
  2. religious and spiritual practice;
  3. juvenile justice; and
  4. pregnant and parenting youth resources.