Standards for private organizations

2020 Edition

Services for Unaccompanied Children (UC) 6: Service Array

The program provides children with a wide array of structured, developmentally and age appropriate services and supports that are culturally responsive and tailored to meet their social and emotional needs, strengths, and interests.


Services should be tailored to meet and be sensitive to the needs of a diverse population of children including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or gender non-conforming and those who may be questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity (LGBTQ).
NA The organization provides post-release services only.
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
  • Procedures for the provision of services including:
    1. Medical examination and health care services
    2. Educational services
    3. Counseling
    4. Legal aid
    5. Facilitating social and community connections
    6. Adaptation and acculturation services


  • Informational health and wellness materials
  • Informational materials on legal aid and assistance
  • Academic curriculum/information outlining educational instruction
  • Service agreements with community partners, as applicable


  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Children served
  • Review case records
  • Verify employment of physician or qualified medical practitioner either directly or via contract
  • Verify employment of trained clinical professional

Fundamental Practice

UC 6.01

A qualified medical practitioner conducts a comprehensive medical examination within 48 hours of admission for all children to: 
  1. collect information regarding the child’s medical history;
  2. perform a general health assessment;
  3. screen for infectious diseases; and
  4. evaluate their ability to participate in athletic activities, if appropriate.


Unaccompanied children must receive a complete medical examination within 48 hours of admission, unless they were recently examined at another facility. In these circumstances, the organization needs to obtain documentation and include all medical information in the child’s case record.


Qualified medical practitioner refers to a licensed physician, registered nurse, nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant, or other healthcare professional that is permitted by law and the organization to provide medical care and services without direction or supervision.

Fundamental Practice

UC 6.02

Children have access to appropriate health care services including: 
  1. routine medical and dental care;
  2. family planning services;
  3. emergency health services;
  4. immunizations;
  5. administration of prescribed medications and special diets; and
  6. behavioral interventions, as appropriate.

UC 6.03

The organization offers age-appropriate educational instruction on-site that is based on:
  1. an educational needs assessment; and 
  2. a plan that is tailored to the individual academic development, literacy level, and linguistic ability of each child.


While residing in Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) placement settings (versus long-term foster care), Unaccompanied Children do not attend public school. Programs may coordinate with local public school districts that provide teachers and/or educational materials as needed.
Note: The Office for Refugee Resettlement requires the educational assessment to happen within 72-hours of a UC’s admission into the facility and the children receive a minimum of six hours of structured education Monday through Friday, through the year. Learning materials must reflect cultural diversity and sensitivity and include a variety of age-appropriate subjects.

UC 6.04

The program provides children with: 
  1. culturally responsive services that are individually tailored to their age, developmental level, social and emotional needs, strengths, and interests;
  2. opportunities to interact with peers in a positive, respectful, and cooperative manner;
  3. mechanisms to formally and informally express feedback including dissatisfaction with aspects of care; and
  4. predictability and structure.

UC 6.05

Social and community connections are encouraged by providing children opportunities to participate in: 
  1. recreational and leisure activities;
  2. educational and independent life skills training;
  3. religious observances in the faith group or spirituality of choice;
  4. culturally-appropriate events consistent with his or her heritage; and
  5. group activities where they can meet, support, and share experiences with peers.


The Office of Refugee Resettlement requires children be allotted recreation and leisure time that includes daily outdoor activity, weather permitting, with at least one hour per day of large muscle activity and one hour of structured leisure time activities (that should not include time spent watching television). Activities should be increased to a total of three hours on days when school is not in session.

UC 6.06

The organization provides counseling and support services that include: 
  1. at least one individual counseling session per week conducted by a trained clinical professional; and
  2. a minimum of two group counseling sessions per week that focus on acclimating to the program structure, staff, and group living environment.


Individual counseling sessions should focus on addressing the unique developmental and crisis-related needs of the child. The clinical worker should actively engage the child in establishing short-term objectives and reviewing progress towards achieving his or her goals. 
Group sessions should involve all children served within the program facility and are conducted in an informal manner. The sessions should allow new children to get acquainted with the rules and structure of the program. The forum also should allow for staff and children to get to learn about one another. During the group sessions, children and staff should have the opportunity to discuss program activities and have a dialogue about any problems or concerns.

UC 6.07

Children receive information about legal aid and are connected with appropriate legal services.

UC 6.08

The organization offers acculturation and adaptation services to aid in the development of social and interpersonal skills.
Examples: Examples of acculturation and adaption services may include: 
  1. English language classes;
  2. celebration of U.S. holidays;
  3. discussion of U.S. laws and the legal system; 
  4. field trips to local historical or cultural points of interest; 
  5. access to community services; or
  6. tailored academic education and instruction, for example, lessons on U.S. history or geography.