Refugee Services (RS)

OTDA Home Programs & Services Refugee Services Programs


The Making A Connection Program (MAC)

MAC promotes positive civic and social engagement among recently arriving refugees between the ages 15 and 24, regardless of their education level. Refugee youth are paired with adult mentors to support their educational advancement and career development.

New York State At-Risk Youth (NYSARY)

NYSARY provides comprehensive support and case management services for at-risk youth, with a focus on unaccompanied children entering the U.S. and residing in Nassau and Suffolk counties. This program was created as part of the Governor’s effort to combat MS-13 gang violence.

The New York State Enhanced Services to Refugees Program (NYSESRP)

NYSESRP provides enhanced services to newly arrived refugees in the U.S., Special Immigrant Visa holders and asylees. Such services include, but are not limited to, case management; employment and training services; and support services such as English language training, assistance with health and medical services and post-employment services necessary to assist eligible individuals and families to attain economic and social self-sufficiency and to successfully integrate into U.S. society.

Refugee and Immigrant Student Welcome Program (RISWP)

RISWP funds activities including, but not limited to: expanded community school activities, the provision of school supplies to incoming students, training opportunities for staff on trauma and cultural sensitivity, employment of counselors and psychologists, and parental and family engagement and support for refugee and immigrant youth.

Refugee Cash Assistance and Refugee Medical Assistance (RCA/RMA)

RCA/RMA provides temporary assistance for refugees and other eligible populations who are not eligible for other federal cash or medical assistance programs, within eight months of being granted an eligible status or date of arrival in the U.S. In New York State, RCA and RMA are provided by social services districts.

Refugee Health Promotion (RHP)

RHP provides funds for part-time Health Access Coordinators (HACs) at resettlement agencies. HACs develop culturally and linguistically appropriate health orientations and classes designed to increase refugees’ health literacy, reduce gaps in services and increase access to public and/or private health insurance.

Refugee Health Screening (RHS)

RHS is a program to provide initial medical screening and immunizations to newly arriving refugees and other eligible persons within 90 days of their date of arrival or date of immigration status granted. RHS ensures follow-up with medical issues identified in an overseas medical examination; identifies persons with communicable diseases of potential public health importance; enables a refugee to successfully resettle by identifying personal health conditions that, if left unidentified, could adversely affect his/her ability to effectively resettle; and refers refugees to primary care providers for ongoing health care.

Refugee School Impact Grant (RSIG)

RSIG addresses the serious short and long term educational issues facing school-aged refugee children, particularly those who have recently arrived in our state; eases the transition of these refugee children into the state’s elementary, middle and high schools; empowers refugee parents to be effective partners in the education of their children; and supports local school systems most heavily impacted by high numbers of refugee students.

Refugee Social Services Program (RSSP)

RSSP provides employment services and other supportive services to refugees and other eligible populations to address barriers to employment such as social and cultural adjustment, job search skills, work experience, and English proficiency. The services under this program assist refugees and their families in achieving economic and social-self-sufficiency as soon as possible after their arrival into the United States.

Response to Human Trafficking Program (RHTP)

RHTP is a program created by state law and provides assistance and services to victims of human trafficking who are confirmed by the New York State referral process by NYS OTDA and DCJS, with a focus on those who would otherwise have no access to needed services. Services to confirmed victims that are available through RHTP providers include health screening, health care and follow-up medical assistance, job training, job placement, and basic food, clothing and shelter.

NYS confirmed victims who are children or who are otherwise eligible to receive public benefits are assisted with accessing these benefits after confirmation. Those NYS confirmed victims who are also certified through a separate federal certification process may be eligible for additional benefits. The State law was amended in August 2018 to expand the eligible populations and available services for the RHTP.

Services to Older Refugees Program (SORP)

The purpose SORP is to provide social and supportive services that assist older refugees aged 60 and older in gaining access to mainstream services within their respective communities so that they may live independently for as long as possible. The program provides outreach to establish and/or expand the working relationships between the contracted service provider agency and the local Office for the Aging (OFA) as well as other relevant local service provider(s) to link older refugees to available services and providers as well as domestic seniors in the community. The program also provides case management services to assess the needs of older refugees and provide them with appropriate direct services that are not currently offered, and connect them with available services to effectively meet the needs identified.

Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program (URM)

The U.S. Department of State identifies refugee children overseas who are eligible for resettlement in the U.S., but do not have a parent or guardian. Upon arrival in the U.S., these refugee children are placed into the URM program and they receive refugee foster care and other services and benefits. Minor foreign-born trafficking victims identified here in the U.S. may also be accepted into the program, as may Unaccompanied Alien Children who have adjusted to an asylee or special immigrant juvenile status. In New York State, URM Program providers are districts located in Onondaga County and Monroe County. Each of the social service districts in these two counties contracts for specialized services within their existing foster care system. These refugee children remain in the custody of the county within which they reside until they age out of the program.

United States Repatriation Program (USRP)

The USRP provides temporary assistance to U.S. citizens and their dependents that have become destitute, ill, incapacitated, or incarcerated in a foreign country and are without available resources. The program assists eligible repatriates upon their return to the United States by providing allowable repatriation services, which may include cash assistance, medical care, mental health treatment, temporary shelter, transportation, and other goods and services necessary for their health or welfare for up to ninety (90) days to assist them to resettle into the area. Referrals come to New York State from the U.S. Department of State. Upon receipt, OTDA/Bureau of Refugee Services forwards the referral to the social services district. The district makes a plan for the arrival of the repatriate and makes any necessary and allowable arrangements and provides services for the assistance that is being requested or needed. For more information on USRP visit the Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response.

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