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Anytime there is news related to the border or a refugee crisis, we frequently hear this question: “How does our city serve unaccompanied minors and refugees that come to our country without their parents? Does this affect the foster care community?”

You may never have heard the term “international foster care,” but this is a unique and important topic. You may also be curious how the federal programs are run, how people can get involved, and how it’s different from domestic foster care.

This is why we’re really glad to have Krista Kesseler here to shed some light on the topic of serving youth through international foster care. Krista is the Community Outreach Specialist for the St. Jerome Emiliani Foster Care Program. In this episode, we dive deep into how international foster care works, how many children are served through international foster care in Houston, who it serves, and some practical ways we can get involved today.

You can also find this podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, and more.

Key Takeaways

  1. The approval process for foster parents is largely the same. The process to get approved to become a foster parent for domestic or international foster care is very similar. However, there are some additional cultural trainings and added support members in international foster care to ensure the child gets access to healthcare and schooling. Foster parents are required to be at least 25 years old for international foster care.
  2. The end goal is still family reunification. While steps are still taken to teach these children everything they need to be self-sufficient adults one day, the goal is to reunify them with their parents or guardians. We are often waiting for the US Government to allow their parents to come to this country.
  3. The best way to help is through mentorship. Many of the basic needs of children in international foster care are being met. There is a need for people to help these children in care to assimilate, adjust, and provide support through tutoring and overcoming trauma. One of the ways this can be done is through mentorship. There is always a need for Spanish-speaking mentors and foster parents for international foster care in Houston.

Meet the Guest

Krista Kesseler is the Community Outreach Specialist for the St. Jerome Emiliani Foster Care Program. This program is a part of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. For nearly 80 years, Catholic Charities has provided food, clothing, shelter, and a network of support services to people of all ages and from all walks of life and religious backgrounds. They also promote social justice, serving as a voice for the poor and vulnerable.

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