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State Announces Funding for Schools to Assist Refugee Children

Program Helps Ease the Transition for School-Aged Refugees

August 9, 2011 - The State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) today announced that more than $3.6 million has been awarded to organizations in Buffalo, Rochester and Utica to help their local school districts support the needs of refugee children and their families as they adapt to life in the United States. The Refugee School Impact Grant Program, overseen by OTDA, provides direct services that support newly-arriving refugees and local school systems with significant numbers of refugee children.

“New York has long been a haven for immigrants and refugees in search of a better life for themselves and their families,” said OTDA Executive Deputy Commissioner Elizabeth Berlin. “Refugees face many challenges as they begin life in a new country, especially children who are thrust into a new and unfamiliar education system. This program and the services it provides to refugee families will help them better assimilate into the community and create a foundation that will put these children on a path to future success.”

The Refugee School Impact Grant Program funding is being awarded to Journey's End Refugee Services, Inc., in Buffalo, the Rochester City School District and the Utica City School District. From 2007-2010, more than 4,100 refugees were resettled in Erie County, more than 2,200 in Monroe County, and nearly 2,000 in Oneida County.

The program, which is federally funded, provides services, including translation, interpretation and academic coaching to address both short and long-term education issues faced by school-aged refugee children. Programs are also provided to help orient school staff to the students' varied needs, and to help refugee parents become involved in the education of their children.

RSIGP Funding
County Organization Amount
Monroe Rochester City School District $1,143,676
Oneida Utica City School District $1,260,275
Erie Journey's End Refugee Services, Inc. $1,214,200

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