Southwest Key’s Home Study program goes above and beyond in evaluating homes for potential sponsors. Every evaluation sent to ORR shares a complete, detailed picture of how a sponsor would care for a child.
While every potential sponsor is thoroughly assessed by a case manager at our shelters, some cases require more in-depth assessment. When a child or youth’s case is referred to us by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), our Home Study staff work with sponsors to assess the safety and appropriateness of the home environment through interviews and home visits. Home study staff produce a written report for ORR, who determines whether the sponsor’s home is a good fit for the child or youth.
We serve children and youth referred by ORR. While many are from our own shelters, we provide services for children and youth referred from all care providers under the ORR umbrella. Most of the children and youth in these shelters are ages 13 to 17 from Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador. Case managers at state-licensed shelters screen each case to determine whether to conduct a home study of potential sponsors as required under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA) or by ORR policy.
While every potential sponsor is thoroughly evaluated by a case manager, some cases require an additional assessment to be done in person. These assessments help determine if the identified sponsor is the best fit to care for the child or youth after their time in a licensed shelter has ended. Whether these sponsors are approved for care is supported with a successful assessment from a Home Study case manager. Taking the time to visit the home itself and interview the sponsor and household members gives us (and ORR) a clearer picture of the potential sponsor’s ability to care for a child or youth.
Our Post Release services help families thrive after unification. We approach care from a trauma-informed perspective and ensure youth and sponsors have everything they need to succeed.
Post Release services are one method of extending additional support to children and youth and their sponsors, based on their needs. These services help ensure safety, wellbeing and success when children and youth arrive to their new homes. When ORR recommends Post Release services, Post Release case managers meet with families shortly after unification to further evaluate their needs and offer support services. Together, they develop an individualized support plan. Resources offered to families may include finding legal representation, helping them apply for financial aid, or helping them access medical and dental services.
We serve children and youth referred to us by ORR. While many of the youth we serve are from our own shelters, we provide services for children referred from other care providers as well. Most of the youth and children in these shelters are ages 13 to 17 from Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador. When ORR identifies a child’s case as needing further services after their release from a shelter, our Post Release case managers step in to help families get the access and resources they need for the best care.
These resources are crucial to the success of a child unified with their sponsor. From help with education to legal resources, Post Release services ensure that children and youth and families can thrive in the months and years after unification. Post Release case managers visit the family regularly until the child or youth turns 18 or their legal case is resolved. These services help ensure they are receiving the best care possible from their sponsors and set them up for success at school or in their future career.