The Refugee Minor Program provides support for unaccompanied refugee children, assisting them and their relatives, or carers to develop settlement skills.
An Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minor (UHM) is a young person under the age of 18, who has arrived in Australia without their parents and/or a relative 21 years or older, on a Protection, Refugee or other Humanitarian Visa.
Refugees leave their country to seek protection when they have no other options. They reside in places of exile, where they are not always welcome or provided protection.
Forced displacement as a result of violence, conflict, fear of persecution, human rights violations and natural disasters is one of today’s biggest humanitarian issues and affects around 42 million people globally.
The journey to Australia
A refugee child or young person's journey to Australia can take many years. In some cases, individuals walk from their homelands to seek refuge in a near-by country. They often live in refugee camps for a long time.
Many refugee children and young people have been exposed to traumatic events during their lifetime. They have had to leave behind their home, family and loved ones and have often lived their lives in fear, danger and in hiding.
These young people come to Australia to seek refuge from persecution in their own countries and to live freely in a country where they feel safe and protected.
A child’s journey does not end when they reach Australia. Their past experiences can make settlement in Australia very challenging. When they arrive, they must start a new journey to recover and begin a new life.
How the program supports unaccompanied refugee children
Children and young people can be given assistance on issues ranging from:
- Accommodation and financial support
- Physical and emotional health needs
- Cultural and religious continuity
- Refugee application process
- Social and recreational needs
- Developing or maintaining client/family connectedness.
The program establishes and maintains partnerships with other agencies in the community. Some of these agencies include:
- Victoria Police Multicultural Liaison Unit
- Centre for Multicultural Youth Issues
- Department of Immigration and Citizenship
- Sudanese Community Association of Australia
- Local governments.
Referrals to Refugee Minor Program
Refugee Minor Program can only receive referrals from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
For more information, see Legal guardianship of unaccompanied humanitarian minors.