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ORR Policy Guide: Alien Children Entering the United States Unaccompanied

Comprehensive policy manual for the UAC program


Issued by: Administration for Children and Families (ACF)

Issue Date: January 30, 2015

Published: January 30, 2015

ORR Policy Guide






Guide to Terms

Record of Posting and Revision Dates

Section 1: Placement in ORR Care Provider Facilities


1.1 Summary of Policies for Placement and Transfer of Unaccompanied Alien Children in ORR Care Provider Facilities

1.2 ORR Standards for Placement and Transfer Decisions
  1.2.1 Placement Considerations
  1.2.2 Children with Special Needs
  1.2.3 Safety Issues
  1.2.4 Secure and Staff Secure Care Provider Facilities
  1.2.5 Unaccompanied Alien Children Who Pose a Risk of Escape
  1.2.6 ORR Long Term Foster Care

  1.2.7 Placing Family Members (Siblings and Children of Unaccompanied Alien Children)

1.3 Referrals to ORR and Initial Placement 
  1.3.1 Request for Information from the Referring Federal Agency
  1.3.2 ORR Placement Designation
  1.3.3 Care Provider Placement Acceptance
  1.3.4 Transfer of Custody to ORR
  1.3.5 Initial Placements in the Event of an Emergency or Influx

1.4 Transfers within the ORR Care Provider Network
  1.4.1 Least Restrictive Setting
  1.4.2 30 Day Restrictive Placement Case Review
  1.4.3 Long Term Care
  1.4.4 Transfer to Long Term Foster Care
  1.4.5 Group Transfers
  1.4.6 Residential Treatment Center Placements
  1.4.7 Requesting Reconsideration of a Secure or RTC Placement Designation

1.5 Placement Inquiries
  1.5.1 ORR National Call Center

1.6 Determining the Age of an Individual without Lawful Immigration Status
  1.6.1 Unaccompanied Alien Children in HHS Custody
  1.6.2 Instructions

1.7 Placement and Operations During an Influx [REPEALED]
Policies related to influx care facilities are found at Section 7 of this Policy Guide.
 1.7.1 Activation of HPCs[REPEALED]
 1.7.2 Placement into HPCs [REPEALED]
 1.7.3 Placement into Influx Care Facilities [REPEALED]
 1.7.4 Admission and Orientation for HPCs and Influx Care Facilities [REPEALED]
 1.7.5 Medical Services [REPEALED]
 1.7.6 HPC and Influx Care Facility Services [REPEALED]
 1.7.7 Transportation During Influx [REPEALED]
 1.7.8 Federal Staffing Plan [REPEALED]

Section 2: Safe and Timely Release from ORR Care

2.1 Summary of the Safe and Timely Release Process

2.2 Sponsor Application Process
  2.2.1 Identification of Qualified Sponsors
  2.2.2 Contacting Potential Sponsors
  2.2.3 The Family Reunification Application
  2.2.4 Required Documents for Submission with the Application for Release
  2.2.5 Legal Orientation Program for Custodians
  2.2.6 Additional Questions and Answers on This Topic

2.3 Key Participants in the Release Process
  2.3.1 ORR Federal Field Specialists
  2.3.2 Case Managers
  2.3.3 Case Coordinators
  2.3.4 Child Advocates

2.4 Sponsor Assessment Criteria and Home Studies
  2.4.1 Assessment Criteria
  2.4.2 Home Study Requirement
  2.4.3 Additional Questions and Answers on This Topic

2.5 Sponsorship Assessment Background Check Investigations
  2.5.1 Background Check Requirements
  2.5.2 Results of Background Checks on Release Decisions
  2.5.3 Commonly Asked Questions on the ORR Background Check Process

2.6 Effect of Sponsor Immigration Status on Release

2.7 Recommendations and Decisions on Release
  2.7.1 Approve Release Decisions
  2.7.2 Approve Release with Post-Release Services
  2.7.3 Conduct a Home Study Before a Final Release Decision Can Be Made
  2.7.4 Deny Release Request
  2.7.5 Remand Release Request – Decision Pending
  2.7.6 Issues Related to Recommendations and Decisions
  2.7.7 Notification of Denial
  2.7.8 Appeal of Release Denial

2.8 Release from ORR Custody
  2.8.1 After Care Planning
  2.8.2 Transfer of Physical Custody
  2.8.3 Closing the Case File
  2.8.4 Safety and Well Being Follow Up Call
  2.8.5 Post-Release Services for UAC with Zika Virus Disease or Infection
  2.8.6 Release for Children with Legal Immigration Status

2.9 Bond Hearings for Unaccompanied Alien Children

Section 3: Services

3.1 Summary of Services

3.2 Care Provider Admissions and Orientation for Unaccompanied Alien Children
  3.2.1 Admissions for Unaccompanied Alien Children
  3.2.2 Orientation

3.3   Care Provider Required Services
  3.3.1 UAC Assessment and Case Review
  3.3.2 Long Term and Concurrent Planning
  3.3.3 Screening for Child Trafficking and Services for Victims
  3.3.4 Safety Planning
  3.3.5 Academic Educational Services
  3.3.6 Independent Living and Vocational Educational Services
  3.3.7 Services Related to Culture, Language, and Religious Observation
  3.3.8 Recreation and Leisure Time Services
  3.3.9 Nutritional Services
  3.3.10 Telephone Calls, Visitation, and Mail
  3.3.11 Clothing and Personal Grooming
  3.3.12 Assignment of Chores
  3.3.13 Behavior Management
  3.3.14 Transportation Services
  3.3.15 Use of Restraints or Seclusion in Emergency Safety Situations In Residential Treatment Centers (RTCs)
  3.3.16 Notification and Reporting of the Death of an Unaccompanied Alien Child
  3.3.17 Use of Restraints during Transport and in Immigration Court
  3.3.18 Restraints in Immigration Court and Asylum Interviews

3.4 Medical Services
  3.4.1 Health Care Eligibility and General Standards
  3.4.2 Initial Medical Examination
  3.4.3 Requests for Health Care Services
  3.4.4 Medication Administration and Management
  3.4.5 Responding to Medical Emergencies
  3.4.6 Management of Communicable Diseases
  3.4.7 Maintaining Health Care Records and Confidentiality
  3.4.8 Medical Clearance Prior to Release or Transfer
  3.4.9 Provider Reimbursement

3.5 Guiding Principles for the Care of Unaccompanied Alien Children Who are LGBTQI
  3.5.1 Zero Tolerance for Discrimination and Harassment
  3.5.2 Prohibition on Segregation and Isolation
  3.5.3 Confidentiality with Regard to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
  3.5.4 Housing
  3.5.5 Restroom and Dressing Area Accommodations

3.6 ORR Long Term Foster Care
  3.6.1 ORR Long Term Foster Care Service Provision
  3.6.2 Change in Placements while in ORR Long Term Foster Care
  3.6.3 Additional Questions and Answers about this Topic

Section 4: Preventing, Detecting, and Responding to Sexual Abuse and Harassment

4.1 Definitions
  4.1.1 Sexual Abuse
  4.1.2 Voyeurism
  4.1.3 Sexual Harassment
  4.1.4 Inappropriate Sexual Behavior
  4.1.5 Questions and Answers about the Definitions

4.2 Zero Tolerance Policy
  4.2.1 Application
  4.2.2 Care Provider Requirements

4.3 Personnel
  4.3.1 Prevention of Sexual Abuse Coordinator and Compliance Manager  
  4.3.2 Applicant Screening
  4.3.3 Employee Background Investigations  
  4.3.4 Hiring Decisions
  4.3.5 Staff Code of Conduct
  4.3.6 Staff Training
  4.3.7 Employee Performance Evaluations and Promotion Decisions
  4.3.8 Disciplinary Sanctions and Corrective Actions
  4.3.9 Questions and Answers

4.4 Staffing and Supervision
  4.4.1 Staffing Levels
  4.4.2 Staffing Plans and Video Monitoring Restrictions
  4.4.3 Searches of Children and Youth
  4.4.4 Upgrades to Facilities and Technologies

4.5  Responsive Planning
  4.5.1 Access to Community Service Providers and Resources
  4.5.2 Forensic Medical Examinations

4.6 Coordinated Response
  4.6.1 Coordinated Response Policies and Procedures
  4.6.2 Responder Duties
  4.6.3 Protecting Children and Youth
  4.6.4 Interventions for Children or Youth Who Engage in Sexual Abuse

4.7 Educating Children and Youth
  4.7.1 Educating Children and Youth on Sexual Abuse and Sexual Harassment
  4.7.2 Bulletin Board Postings
  4.7.3 Pamphlets on Sexual Abuse and Harassment

4.8 Assessment for Risk
  4.8.1 Assessment for Risk
  4.8.2 Use of Assessment Information

4.9 Medical and Mental Health Care
  4.9.1 Emergency Medical and Mental Health Care Services Following an Incident of Sexual Abuse
  4.9.2 Medical Services for Victims at Risk of Pregnancy
  4.9.3 Ongoing Medical and Mental Health Care
  4.9.4 Religious Objections

4.10 Reporting and Follow-up
  4.10.1 Methods for Children and Youth to Report
  4.10.2 Care Provider Reporting Requirements
  4.10.3 Sexual Abuse and Harassment Follow-up
  4.10.4 Notification and Access to Attorneys/Legal Representatives and Families
  4.10.5 Confidentiality
  4.10.6 UAC Sexual Abuse Hotline

4.11 Incident Reviews and Data Collection
  4.11.1 Incident Reviews

4.12 Compliance Audits
  4.12.1 Compliance Audit Process
  4.12.2 Care Provider Facilities Requirements
  4.12.3 Auditor Certification

Section 5: Program Management

5.1 Responding to Inquiries from the Media
  5.1.1 Policies for ORR Grantees
  5.1.2 How ORR Responds to Press Inquiries
  5.1.3 Requests to Interview a Specific Child
  5.1.4 Requests to Visit a Facility
  5.1.5 Requests for General Information and Data

5.2 ORR Policies on Requests to Visit ORR Care Provider Facilities
  5.2.1 Evaluation Criteria
  5.2.2 Special Arrangements
  5.2.3 Protocol for Tours of Care Provider Facilities
  5.2.4 Congressional Visits

5.3 Testimony by Employees and Production of Documents Where the United States is Not a Party
  5.3.1 Care Provider Testimony and Views
  5.3.2 Confidentiality of Information
  5.3.3 Release of Records Without Prior Approval

5.4 ORR Policies on Communication and Interaction with Consulates
  5.4.1 Notifications to Consulates
  5.4.2 Right of UAC to Contact and Meet with the Consulate
  5.4.3 Consulate Officials: Access to Their Citizens and ORR Care Provider Facilities
  5.4.4 Visitation
  5.4.5 Information Requests
  5.4.6 Documentation
  5.4.7 ORR and Consulate Joint Activities

5.5 ORR Monitoring and Compliance
  5.5.1 ORR Monitoring Activities
  5.5.2 Follow Up and Corrective Actions
  5.5.3 Foster Care Monitoring
  5.5.4 Abuse Review Team
  5.5.5 Care Provider Internal Program Monitoring, Evaluation, and Quality Assurance

5.6 Reporting and Record Keeping
  5.6.1 Program Reporting Requirements
  5.6.2 Maintaining Case Files
  5.6.3 Record Management, Retention and Safekeeping

5.7 Policies to Protect Sponsors from Fraud
  5.7.1 ORR Efforts to Help Prevent Fraud
  5.7.2 Responding to Fraud Attempts

5.8 Significant Incident Reports and Notification Requirements
  5.8.1 Emergency Incidents
  5.8.2 Significant Incidents
  5.8.3 Allegations of Sexual Abuse and Harassment in ORR Care
  5.8.4 Allegations of Abuse that Occurred in DHS Custody
  5.8.5 Reporting SIRs to DHS
  5.8.6 Allegations of Past Abuse that Occurred Outside the United States
  5.8.7 Allegations of Past Abuse that Occurred Inside the United States
  5.8.8 SIR Addendums
  5.8.9 Notification to Attorneys/Legal Representatives, Child Advocates, Families, and Sponsors

5.9 Sharing Information with Local Communities

Section 6: Resources and Services Available After Release from ORR Care

6.1  Summary of Resources and Services Available After Release from ORR Care

6.2 Post Release Services
  6.2.1 Levels of Post Release Services
  6.2.2 Post Release Service Areas
  6.2.3 Timeframe for Post Release Services
  6.2.4 Post Release Service Providers: Case Reporting
  6.2.5 Post Release Service Records Management, Retention and Information Sharing

6.4 ORR National Call Center

Section 7: Policies for Influx Care Facilities 


7.1 Overview

7.2 Placement into Influx Care Facilities
  7.2.1 Criteria for Placement
  7.2.2 Operational Capacity

7.3 Transfers during an Influx

7.4 Influx Care Facility Admissions and Orientation

7.5 Influx Care Facility Required Services
  7.5.1 Influx Care Facility Minimum Services
  7.5.2 Influx Care Facility Medical Services

7.6 Temporary Waivers for Influx Care Facilities
  7.6.1 Notifications to Congress of Waivers

7.7 Influx Care Facility Staffing Levels

7.8 Influx Care Facility Federal Staffing Plan

7.9 Requests to Visit Influx Care Facilities

7.10 Influx Care Facility Monitoring

7.11 Agreements with Federal, State, and/or Local Security Providers




Last Reviewed: December 20, 2019

DISCLAIMER: The contents of this database lack the force and effect of law, except as authorized by law (including Medicare Advantage Rate Announcements and Advance Notices) or as specifically incorporated into a contract. The Department may not cite, use, or rely on any guidance that is not posted on the guidance repository, except to establish historical facts.