Reception and Placement
The U.S. State Department contracts with local refugee resettlement agencies to prepare for and welcome newly-arrived refugees to communities across the country. This Reception and Placement (R&P) program serves refugees during their first 90 days in the United States.
R&P services include: case management; securing and furnishing safe, affordable housing; providing cultural orientation; basic needs assistance; help with medical appointments; enrollment of children in school; and placement in ESL programs. Refugees who are resettled through the United States Refugee Admission Program (USRAP) are eligible for this program. This is a federally funded program; CWS must follow strict guidelines to provide these core services to new arrivals.
Integration and Extended Services
Federal Programs
Matching Grant (MG) Program – The Matching Grant Program is a six-month employment program that provides intensive case management services to help clients achieve economic self-sufficiency. This program provides case management services, employment services, and financial assistance along with other useful resources, such as ESL courses and Job Readiness training.
Preferred Communities Intensive Case Management Program (PC) – The Preferred Communities program is a year-long intensive case management program that helps vulnerable refugees along the path to self-sufficiency by providing individually-tailored resources and connections to the wider community. Special need and vulnerable groups who are eligible for services include those with disabilities; youth and young adults without parents; single parents and women at risk; the elderly; refugees facing acute mental health challenges; and LGBTQ clients, among others.
State Programs
Refugee Support Services and Employment Program (RSSEP) – RSSEP is an employment program that is focused on self-sufficiency through employment and education. Clients receive ongoing employment and career support and ongoing ESL support. CWS Harrisonburg, through the RSSEP program, helps new arrivals find new jobs during the first 90 days in the United States and serves refugees up to five years after arrival to upgrade employment and reach career goals. This program also connects and supports refugees with adult education opportunities in order to advance career opportunities.
Virginia Refugee Student Achievement Project (VRSAP) – VRSAP supports refugee families with school aged children so that they can best succeed in the United States. Services include: monitoring and reviewing school progress; help with access to enrichment activities and extracurriculars; tutoring support; school system orientation for parents; and access to interpretation services.
Refugee Health Education and Outreach (RHEO) – The RHEO program provides continuing health education and outreach to refugee clients. This includes facilitating health and mental health care, providing resources and outreach to clients, and coordinating activities like women’s health classes, vaccine clinics, and creating educational videos.
Services to Older Refugees (SOR) – a program to support elderly clients in integrating into the community and working towards citizenship. This program helps older refugees connect to English classes and participate in activities in the community, including Tai Chi classes and sewing and quilting groups. Recently through a partnership with Radical Roots Farm we have been delivering fresh produce and providing recipes and nutrition counseling to our older clients.
Mentoring Youth in Virginia (MYVA) – The MYVA program pairs refugee youth ages 15-21 with community members who can provide support and encouragement around social, academic, and career goals to these young adults as they navigate life in the United States. In partnership with the JMU Computer Science Department MYVA also holds a two week summer coding camp for refugee youth.
State Opioid Response (SOR) Youth – SOR Youth is a substance abuse prevention summer program for high school aged refugee youth. It is aimed at building resiliency and protective factors in the lives of refugee youth.
CWS Domestic Violence Prevention and Family Resiliency Program– CWS Harrisonburg offers domestic violence prevention services to the community including outreach and cultural and legal education; crisis support and case management; assistance with legal issues; making safety plans; and otherwise supporting family resiliency.
Local Programs
Sentara Healthcare Career Pathways – This program offers outreach and support for refugees and immigrants in the community who are either interested in continuing a career in healthcare or are beginning their journey to becoming a healthcare professional.
Emergency Response Programs
Afghan Placement and Assistance (APA) – Afghan nationals who have been granted humanitarian parole into the United States may be eligible for this program. The APA program offers temporary legal status, expedited work authorization, and access to basic resettlement services through a 30-90 day service period with existing resettlement agencies. This includes, but is not limited to, airport reception, accessing safe and appropriate housing, providing adequate food supplies, accessing seasonal clothing, accessing health care and other public benefits, as eligible, assistance with school enrollment for minors, cultural orientation and limited financial assistance.
Ukrainian Humanitarian Parolees – CWS Harrisonburg is a local resettlement agency authorized by the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to accept applications from Ukrainian Humanitarian Parolees for ORR benefits and services.
Immigration Legal Services
The CWS Harrisonburg Immigration and Refugee Program received recognition from the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) in January 2006, and since then our staff have Department of Justice (DOJ) accreditation to practice immigration law. The CWS immigration legal services program is one of only two BIA accredited programs in Harrisonburg. We offer citizenship, green card, work authorization, family reunification, and other legal immigration applications.
Community Engagement
Collaborative relationships with individuals and community partners forms the basis of our work and helps to achieve transformational empowerment for our clients. CWS Harrisonburg offers many ways for the larger community to engage and join in the work of welcoming refugees. Opportunities include volunteering, making an in-kind donation to furnish housing, booking a guest speaker, sponsoring a newly arrived family, or participating in one of our special events.
The CWS advocacy lead develops and implements strategies to increase support for refugee resettlement with policymakers in the state of Virginia. The program also supports building refugees’ civic engagement efforts in Virginia through capacity building and trainings.