International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Community Development and Planning (CDP)


International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Laurie Ross

Second Reader

Ken MacLean


The United States has resettled more than 2 million refugees since 1975 and approximately one third of them are children. Some of the children who arrive in the U.S. are unaccompanied refugee minors (URMs), meaning they arrive without a parent nor guardian. The absence of a parent figure heightens the adversities of escape and acculturation for URMs. However, due to the lack of available information on URM experiences, their physical, emotional and psychosocial needs in the U.S. are continually unmet. This paper considers the role that schools and teachers have as agents of care to foster positive growth and acculturation for URMs. Through an analysis of the challenges and needs of both URMs and teachers, the benefits of an ethics of care – supplemented with culturally responsive pedagogy – within classrooms is explored. By implementing an ethics of care, teachers are able to create comfortable, safe and supportive environments for URMs that motivate them through their acculturation process.



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