Welcome to the California Department of Social Services

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Who We Serve

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS), Refugee Programs Bureau (RPB) has statewide administrative responsibilities for the Refugee Resettlement Program (RRP) and Cuban/Haitian Entrant Program (CHEP). These programs are funded 100 percent by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and are operated at the local level by county welfare/social services offices in collaboration with Community and Faith-Based Organizations. (The RPB also has oversight responsibilities for other ORR programs and grants).

The RRP/CHEP provides culturally-sensitive and linguistically-appropriate services to refugees and other vulnerable populations to help them attain the skills needed for finding employment and becoming self-sufficient as quickly as possible after their arrival in the United States (U.S.). Visit our Getting Servicespage for information on available benefits and services, as well as eligibility criteria for the following populations we serve:

Refugees are individuals who have been granted special immigration status ("refugee") by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) while outside the U.S. These refugees are unable to return to their country of origin because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. The definition for refugee also includes individuals who have been subject to or have a well-founded fear of being subject to coercive population control methods such as forced abortion or involuntary sterilization.

Asylees are individuals who are in the U.S., either legally or without documents, and fear they will be persecuted if they return to their country of origin. To become an asylee, an individual must go through an immigration hearing or court process and be granted asylum by USCIS.

Cuban and Haitian Entrants are nationals of Cuba or Haiti who are in the U.S.and are granted a special status by USCIS. Visit the ORR Cuban/Haitian Fact Sheet for more information on Cuban and Haitian Entrants.

Certified Human Trafficking Victims are victims of modern-day slavery, which include young children, teenagers, men and women. Victims of human trafficking are subjected to force, fraud or coercion, for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labor. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 made adult victims of severe forms of trafficking who have been certified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services eligible for benefits and services to the same extent as refugees. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003 made certain family members of trafficking victims also eligible for benefits and services to the same extent as refugees. Victims of severe forms of trafficking who are under 18 years of age are also eligible for benefits to the same extent as refugees but do not need to be certified.

Certain Amerasians from Vietnam who are admitted to the U.S. as immigrants pursuant to section 584 of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 1988 as amended. These immigrants are children born in Vietnam between January 1, 1962, and before January 1, 1976, who were fathered by an American citizen.

Afghan and Iraqi Special Immigrants are displaced persons from Afghanistan and Iraq admitted to the U.S. with Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs). These Afghans and Iraqis were employed by or assisted the U.S. Armed Forces with translation or interpreter services.