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State Advisory Council - Open Public Seat

~ The State Advisory Council-Open Public Seat position posted on January 18, 2019, is now closed. Please check back on this page for future open positions.~

The California Department of Social Services, Refugee Programs Bureau is announcing one open Public Seat on the State Advisory Council on Refugee Assistance and Services (SAC). The SAC is looking for an individual to fill the seat who would like to utilize their skills, knowledge, expertise, and passion to support refugee communities and resettlement in California. For more information on the State Advisory Council, visit the SAC webpage.

If you or someone you may know is interested in the position, please submit the nomination by no later than CLOSED. A completed SAC nomination packet must include the following:

  1. Current Resume
  2. Three References

In accordance to the SAC By-Laws , Section 1B, no more than four nominations will be accepted for any open public seat. Completed nominations (with all three components of the packet) will be accepted within 30 days from the announcement of the open seat and on a first come, first served basis, determined by the date and time of the receipt of the application. Once you have submitted an application, you will receive confirmation of your application and if you have been accepted as a nominee.

Please submit the completed nomination packet via email to or by mail to:

CDSS/Refugee Programs Bureau
Attn: State Advisory Council
744 P Street, MS 9-6-626
Sacramento, CA 95814

If you have questions, please contact Lauren Kocher at ( 916 ) 654-7327 or

Federal Shutdown (Dec 2018 - Jan 2019)

There is currently no impact to any of the refugee programs administered by the Refugee Programs Bureau (RPB), including the Refuge Support Services (RSS), Refugee School Impact (RSI), Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA), Services to Older Refugees (SOR), or the Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URM) programs. We expect funding levels to remain uninterrupted through this quarter. Fund availability may be impacted in the future if the federal shutdown continues for a significantly longer amount of time. RPB will share more information as it becomes available.

California Newcomer Education and Well-Being (CalNEW)

The California Department of Social Services, Refugee Programs Bureau is now accepting applications for the California Newcomer Education and Well-Being ( CalNEW) project for State Fiscal Years 2017-2020 project period. The CalNEW project was created with the passing of Assembly Bill No. 99 , chapter 15, section 81, statutes of 2017.

We invite California school districts to submit a complete Request for Application (RFA) package by February 2, 2018,to be considered for the CalNEW funding:

June 2017 is Refugee Awareness Month (RAM)

Refugee Awareness Month (RAM) logo
The Refugee Programs Bureau (RPB) will celebrate RAM through a variety of events for both staff and stakeholders. There will be refugee art displays, speaker forum and resource table. Refugee Awareness Month webpage for more information on this year's events.

June is Refugee Awareness Month

In recognition of World Refugee Month and World Refugee Day on June 20th, the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) will hold numerous events throughout the month of June celebrating the achievements, contributions and successes made by refugees. Californians are enriched by the diversity, strengths and courage brought by these newcomers. This year CDSS will observe World Refugee Day on June 19th at the CDSS headquarters in Sacramento. For more information about World Refugee Day and local events please visit our Refugee Awareness Month webpage.

Changes in Refugee Resettlement Program Terminology

The United States Department of State recently updated refugee program terminology. Voluntary Agencies (VOLAGs) are now referred to as Resettlement Agencies (RAs) and Mutual Assistance Associations (MAAs) are now referred to as Ethnic Community Based Organizations (ECBOs) . Please note these updates as changes are being made to the Refugee Programs Bureau documents and webpage. Thank you.

Upcoming Joint SAC/CRC meeting to be held at the CalWORKs and Refugee Training Academy

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Refugee Programs Bureau (RPB) is pleased to announce the next State Advisory Council (SAC) on Refugee Assistance and Services public meeting which will be joined by the County Refugee Coordinators (CRC). The meeting will be held in conjunction with the CDSS CalWORKs and Refugee Training Academy.

SAC/CRC Joint Meeting Agenda
December 8, 2015
8:30 AM – 10 AM
Room Garden- 4
Hyatt Regency Orange County Hotel and Convention Center
11999 Harbor Blvd, Garden Grove, CA 92840
(714) 750-1234

If any ADA accommodations are needed, please contact Lorraine Luna at 916-654-1248. Requests should be made as soon as possible but at least five business days prior to the scheduled meeting.

Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report 2015

Secretary John Kerry (July 27): "This year’s Report places a special emphasis on human trafficking in the global marketplace. It highlights the hidden risks that workers may encounter when seeking employment and the steps that governments and businesses can take to prevent trafficking, including a demand for transparency in global supply chains." Please visit the Department of State website for more information Unaccompanied Alien Children.Unaccompanied Alien Children .

Unaccompanied Alien Children

Thank you for visiting our website. For information, comments and concerns related to the influx of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) coming into California please contact the HHS. The Department of Social Services' Refugee Programs Bureau is not involved in the custody, transport or placement of the UAC Children. The UAC program is a federally administered program under the US Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). As UACs are generally in removal (deportation) proceedings, they are not eligible for services offered by the State's Refugee Program.

Refugee Backgrounder, Refugees from Syria

A Refugee Backgrounder, Refugees from Syria , published by the Cultural Orientation Resource (COR) Center at the Center for Applied Linguistics with funding provided by State/PRM. This 15-page document, available on the Learning About Refugees section of the COR Center's website, provides resettlement communities with basic information about the Syrian refugee population. The document addresses Syria's modern history, government, economy and other systems, the different Syrian populations, common beliefs and customs, conditions in first-asylum countries, and implications for resettlement. Please note that the document does not currently include demographic information about the Syrian refugees in the U.S. Refugee Admissions pipeline; that information will follow as more Syrian refugees undergo processing.

The Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) announces a new video, Faces of Resettlement

PRM is pleased to announce that a new video, Faces of Resettlement, has been posted on the Cultural Orientation Resource Center website. It will also soon be posted on PRM's website. Developed to showcase the contributions of individual refugees who have resettled in the U.S., the video features five individuals from Bhutan, Burma, Burundi, Iraq and Sudan. The video highlights the resiliency of refugees as they rebuild their lives and the ways in which receiving community members have been deeply touched through their friendship. We hope this video will be a useful outreach tool to help educate receiving community members about refugees and the valuable contributions they make in neighborhoods throughout the United States. Faces of Resettlement was produced by the Center for Applied Linguistics Cultural Orientation Resource Center with funding from the Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

Refugee Backgrounder, Refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Cultural Orientation Resource (COR) Center at the Center for Applied Linguistics, with funding provided by PRM, developed a 12-page document providing resettlement communities with basic information about the new Congolese refugee arrivals. It looks at the causes of the refugee crisis, life in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and countries of first asylum, the basic background characteristics of the refugees and their resettlement experiences in the United States. The document also addresses the strengths incoming Congolese refugees bring and the challenges they may face upon resettlement. The backgrounder concludes with a one-page At a Glance section showing demographic information regarding the Congolese refugees currently in the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program pipeline; this information will be updated at regular intervals.

In addition to the backgrounder, the COR Center has developed a Congolese Refugees section within the Refugee Populations area of its website. This section hosts a newly-developed Images: Congolese Refugees gallery as well as the backgrounder, and also refers visitors to Resettlement Support Center (RSC) Africa Cultural Orientation Program resources regarding refugees from the DRC.

Note: Some linksabove are to information in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). Please seeTips for Using Adobe PDF Files for details.