ORR Policy: Home Studies and Post Release Services

By USCRI April 4, 2022

Click on the lesson above to read through ORR’s policy related to Home Studies and Post Release Services.

Sponsor Assessment Criteria


As noted in the Section 2.2 Application for Safe and Timely Release of an Unaccompanied Alien Child from ORR Care, the application process for release of an unaccompanied alien child involves a number of steps, including background checks (see Section 2.5 ORR Policies on Requesting Background Checks) and submission of the application by the sponsor. This section describes the criteria ORR uses to assess each potential sponsor’s ability to provide for the physical and mental well-being of the unaccompanied alien child, and the role of home studies in the process.

The sponsor assessment reviews a sponsor’s strengths, resources, risk factors and special concerns within the context of the unaccompanied alien child’s needs, strengths, risk factors, and relationship to the sponsor. ORR also determines whether to conduct a home study, as required by the law or as necessary to ensure the welfare of the child

Revised 3/15/16

2.4.1 Assessment Criteria

ORR considers the following factors when evaluating family members and other potential sponsors:

  • The nature and extent of the sponsor’s previous and current relationship with the child or youth and the unaccompanied alien child’s family, if a relationship exists.
  • The sponsor’s motivation for wanting to sponsor the child or youth.
  • The unaccompanied alien child’s parent or legal guardian’s perspective on the release to the identified potential sponsor (for cases in which the parent or legal guardian has designated a sponsor).
  • The child or youth’s views on the release and whether he or she wants to be released to the individual.
  • The sponsor’s understanding of the unaccompanied alien child’s needs, as identified by ORR and the care provider.
  • The sponsor’s plan to provide adequate care, supervision, access to community resources, and housing.
  • The sponsor’s understanding of the importance of ensuring the unaccompanied alien child’s presence at all future hearings or proceedings, including immigration court proceedings, and the sponsor’s attendance at a Legal Orientation Program for Custodians (LOPC) presentation. See section 2.2.5.
  • The linguistic and cultural background of the child or youth and the sponsor, including cultural, social, and communal norms and practices for the care of children.
  • The sponsor’s strengths, resources, and mitigating factors in relation to any risks or special concerns of the child or sponsor, such as a criminal background, history of substance abuse, mental health issues, or domestic violence and child welfare concerns.
  • The unaccompanied alien child’s current functioning and strengths in relation to any risk factors or special concerns, such  as children or youth who are victims of human trafficking; are a parent or are pregnant; have special needs, disabilities or medical or mental health issues; have a history of criminal, juvenile justice, or gang involvement; or a history of behavioral issues.

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