Refugee Services is a state program that coordinates and oversees many of the services provided to refugees and entrants in Florida to help them become economically self-sufficient. Refugee Services assists newly-arrived eligible clients in obtaining employment, learning English, acquiring job skills and overcoming legal or medical difficulties. The program is 100 percent federally-funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement, through a grant application process.
The Federal government is responsible for oversight, rules and laws governing immigration to the United States. Following passage of the Federal Refugee Act of 1980 and the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980, the Florida Department of Children & Families was named State Refugee Coordinator for Refugee Services.
Nationally, refugee admissions are limited to approximately 70,000 individuals per year. Refugees are identified by the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees or the U.S. Department of State and are processed for admission by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services. The U.S. State Department contracts with national voluntary agencies to arrange travel and initial resettlement in the U.S. The voluntary agencies work through local affiliates to accomplish resettlement in various states including Florida.
Refugee Services applies for federal grants, from the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement, to fund services. Grant funds are expended through contracts with providers obtained through state competitive procurement procedures or exemptions. The Program manages over 40 community provider contracts and funds cash and medical assistance for eight months from the refugee's date of arrival to the U.S, totaling more than $80 million in federal aid to eligible clients.
The State Program Office for Refugee Services is located in Miami.