International Rescue Committee-Seattle Programs
Over the years, the IRC has built numerous programs to support refugees and victims of human trafficking who are in the process of rebuilding their lives. Here are just a few examples of such programs:
The Health & Wellness Program provides intensive case management for refugees with special medical needs. The program ensures refugees are connected with appropriate services, gain the skills needed to manage their healthcare needs and provides advocacy for individuals navigating a complex healthcare system. The program offers health and wellness workshops, a women’s support group and an empowerment program for adolescent refugee girls.
The Washington Anti-Trafficking Response Network (WARN) assists victims of human trafficking throughout Washington State. As the lead agency in WARN, the IRC in Seattle coordinates with partner agencies, law enforcement, legal, social service and medical providers to ensure that victims of trafficking receive the services and support they need. IRC staff conduct outreach and education to thousands of community members each year to raise awareness of human trafficking in the Pacific Northwest.
The Newcomer School Readiness Program provides academic orientation for newly arrived refugee youth and their parents who will be entering the Tukwila School District. With our community partners, the IRC provides eight weeks of intensive school orientation for refugee youth who will be entering the U.S. school system for the first time.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
In 2013, the IRC-led Washington Anti-Trafficking Response Network (WARN) made tremendous progress in their efforts to combat human trafficking in Washington State.
- WARN program partners identified and served a record number of survivors of human trafficking in 2013.
- The IRC in Seattle was awarded Enhanced Collaborative Model to Combat Human Trafficking grant from the Department of Justice along with Seattle Police Department to continue serving victims and survivors of human trafficking into 2015.
- WARN participated in El Centro de La Raza’s Day of the Dead Celebration, providing information on victims’ rights and services to over 1300 members of Seattle’s Latino community.
- WARN provided training and outreach to over 5,000 service providers and other professions and community members.
In 2011, the IRC began to provide extended case management to medically needy refugees. The initial goals focused on the extension of individual case management. In the first year 96 clients were served. As the program has evolved, additional needs have emerged. In order to address critical issues, the IRC began to offer health and wellness workshops, expanded resources through new community partnerships, and coordinated ongoing support groups, including a knitting circle for elderly and disabled women and an adolescent empowerment group for refugee girls.
There are many growth opportunities within the health and wellness program. Expanded opportunities for health-focused workshops, extended support services through health liaisons from refugee communities and assistance for those needing to adjust to the changes that will come with the Affordable Care Act. Additional funding will help significantly improve health outcomes in refugee communities.