Children are often orphaned or torn from their parents as a result of conflict or persecution around the world. Others, desperate to escape violence or poverty, risk everything to go in search of safety and opportunity.

When unaccompanied migrant children are released to a guardian, need an advocate, or would benefit from a loving adoptive family, LIRS is there to help. We are experts in serving and advocating for the best interests of refugee and immigrant children. We promote family unity and reunification when it is a viable, safe option. And we actively partner with other domestic and international organizations to advance the best interests of all separated and unaccompanied children, within the United States and globally.

Reuniting Families

Among the 10 million refugees around the world, an estimated 5 percent are children living apart from their parents. Many other children who are not classified as refugees, but who are nevertheless desperate for safety, freedom and opportunity, leave their homes and migrate to the United States alone. When refugee children are referred for resettlement and when migrant children enter into federal custody, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is called upon to help them reunite with their family members already living in the United States. Read more ...

Finding Loving Homes

When refugee and immigrant children arrive in the United States without a parent or loved one to provide the shelter, security and sustenance they deserve, we are there. LIRS is one of two organizations in the world that provides specialized foster care services for resettled unaccompanied refugee children. This unique program started in the 1980s in response to the huge number of unaccompanied and separated children fleeing Southeast Asia.Read more ...

Safe Release Support Program

The LIRS Safe Release Support Program helps to reunite migrant children with their families in the United States. These children often face violence and trauma in their home country or on their journey to the U.S. The Safe Release program ensures that they are protected, cared for, and given access to the services they need.

Safe Release Program sites assist families when they are at their most vulnerable—when they need guidance through the complex process to reunite with their children. Read more ...

Advocating for Children

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service serves the best interests of all refugee and migrant children by monitoring federal legislation and policies to ensure the fair and just treatment of these vulnerable populations. We engage in advocacy for migrant and refugee children nationally with the U.S. Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement and the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review. Internationally, we advocate with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Read more ...
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