Immigrants & Refugees 101: A Roadmap for Effective Helping
A panel discussion and conversation around fundamental topics relating to working with immigrant and refugee clients
Date & Time:
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
St. Catherine University, Mendel Hall room 106. 2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul, MN
Bula Atomssa is the Social Work Unit Supervisor at Hennepin County Office for Multicultural Services, where he has worked since 1999. He holds an MSW from the University of Minnesota, and a BSW from Metro State. He has pre-social work degrees from Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Belgium.
Nancy Avila '13 MSW is an outpatient therapist at Family Life Mental Health Center in Coon Rapids. She was previously employed at The Family Partnership (TFP) for two and a half years providing outpatient psychotherapy to clients out of the former Brooklyn Park and current Lake Street locations. Before her time at TFP, Nancy worked at Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio (CLUES) as a family case manager, a school-linked mental health provider, and a sexual assault psychotherapist who provided outpatient psychotherapy and facilitated domestic violence support groups for women and children.
Renuka Jayatunge, an immigrant from Sri Lanka, will share her experiences navigating resettlement needs and what she has found to be most helpful from the immigrant perspective.
On behalf of our AEIR students (Area of Emphasis in Social Work Practice with Immigrants and Refugees), I thank you for your interest and participation in Immigrants and Refugees 101: A Roadmap for Effective Helping.
Together we listened and learned new ideas for how we can better navigate the service delivery system for immigrants living in our community. Effective helpers need to know about both (1) current resources for basic needs and health as well as (2) best practices/approaches for meeting the unique needs of migrating people. Underlying this, we need to help each other build specialized knowledge in relevant aspects of immigration law, benefits eligibility, trauma-informed care, cultural & linguistic competence, etc.
As promised, we are attaching here a collection of resources to help you along this journey toward effective helping, toward empowering new arrivals to achieve safety and independence for themselves and their families. We invite you to share these with others and to continue the conversation about effective helping strategies for immigrants and refugees.
It was a pleasure to welcome you to our campus for a fruitful and important conversation.
Eva Solomonson, MSW, LICSW
Faculty Coordinator for the Area of Emphasis in Social Work Practice with Immigrants and Refugees (AEIR)
St. Catherine University - University of St Thomas School of Social Work
Tel: 651-962-5833 / email@example.com
- Basic US Immigration Terms and Statuses to help you distinguish the various types of immigration status that Minnesota immigrants hold
- Pathways to Citizenship and Access to Benefits for Asylees to help you understand the unique circumstances of immigrants seeking permanent status though a political asylum claim (source: Advocates for Human Rights)
- Immigration Agency Referral List to help you connect with skilled immigration attorneys in Minnesota (source: Volunteer Lawyers Network)
Eligibility for Public Benefits/Local Resources
- Eligibility of Noncitizens for Health Care and Cash Assistance Programs (source: MN House of Representatives)
- Quick Guide to Immigrant Benefits Eligibility (source: Southern MN Regional Legal Services)
- Government Benefits for Noncitizens (source: Southern MN Regional Legal Services)
- 2016-17 Directory of Refugee Services Providers offers a list of specific service providers for refugee employment, refugee cash assistance, and social service providers in the Metro and Greater MN (source: Refugee Resettlement Program Office, MN Department of Services)
- Compiled List: Twin Cities Providers Serving Immigrants and Refugees (meeting basic needs, education support, mental health, etc)
- Compiled List: Local and National Groups Advocating for Immigrants and Refugees
Specialized Knowledge and Skills
- Collaborating with Language Interpreters – Practical guidance for working with people who do not speak English.
- Trauma-informed care is essential when engaging and serving refugees.
- Trauma Informed Care (an article from the Encyclopedia of Social Work) provides background information about trauma, trauma-informed care, and strategies to respond effectively.
- A variety of Minnesota organizations offer training and consultation related to trauma. Examples include the Minnesota Trauma Project (https://www.mntraumaproject.org); and People Incorporated Training Institute (https://www.peopleincorporated.org).
- Multicultural Perspectives in Social Work Practice with Families (Sample Chapter available through Springer Publishing)
Networking and Advocating
- African Mental Health Network is a free, collaborative online network of service providers who provide mental health support for immigrants and refugees. To join the Listserv, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Metro Immigrant and Refugee Health Network hosts monthly free community meetings in which service providers learn about other providers’ programs and engage in informal professional networking. More information can be found at: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/refugee/metrotf/
- Take Action on Migrant Rights – This summary, provided by Advocates for Human Rights, offers big and small actions you can take to support immigrant rights in Minnesota