These stories are just a few examples of the hundreds of requests for assistance BRYCS receives each year. Read about how BRYCS assisted refugee resettlement and mainstream service providers with their direct work with refugee families experiencing family conflict, parenting challenges, difficulties accessing services in school, and more.*
*The names of the individuals and some of the details about their situations have been changed in order to protect their identity. The photos represent the many countries that resettled refugees come from and do not represent the particular children or families mentioned in each story in order to respect their confidentiality.
“The clearinghouse is most important – it’s like Google for refugee youth info. Anything you need to know, you look for it on BRYCS.”
“BRYCS Web site is a great resource and I learn so much from it. Your website has impacted the way I provide technical assistance to my subgrantees in an educational setting.”
“BRYCS helped me find research directly related to my work (quickly!) & to network with other organizations to learn about new program designs / ideas. They have been an incredible resource for my organization!”
“BRYCS listserv is a great way to connect with others around the country – get their feedback, learn about other programs & explore other resources.”
“BRYCS is a critical component to support strong programs on a national level. I feel reassured that I can always pick up the phone & reach someone who is knowledgeable & competent to answer my questions & clarify my understanding of a particular topic.”
BRYCS helps a family stay together
After viewing BRYCS’ Webinar, “Recognizing Suspected Child Maltreatment in Culturally Diverse Populations,” a refugee resettlement caseworker called about a Congolese family having difficulties in the home related to parenting. BRYCS staff connected the worker with a local child welfare agency to access family preservation services, provided the worker with parenting resources, and discussed working with the school for support services. Subsequently, this refugee family accessed mainstream child welfare and school-related services, which helped improve the family’s stability. BRYCS’ involvement both directly assisted this family and improved the capacity of the refugee resettlement agency to handle similar types of cases in the future.
BRYCS helps with high needs Bhutanese family in the Midwest
A refugee resettlement office contacted BRYCS regarding a complex Bhutanese refugee family, involving a non-verbal 12-year-old with severe developmental delays and aggressive behavior, and a younger sibling with more moderate developmental delays. The boys’ behaviors were putting themselves and others at risk and the family was having trouble enrolling them in school. The local agency sought guidance in identifying resources to assist the family. BRYCS worked with the local agency to consult with the state refugee coordinator, the child welfare system, the schools, and a local children’s hospital. Thanks to BRYCS’ involvement with the case and BRYCS’ depth of resources nationally, when the family relocated, BRYCS was able to contact the Refugee School Impact program in the family’s new city and also brief the nearest resettlement office so they could prepare to assist the family. When BRYCS followed up, it was reported that the younger child was enrolled in school and they were working on enrolling the older child in special education.
BRYCS connects CASA with Burmese Organizations
In March, 2011, BRYCS was contacted by a psychology doctoral student in the Midwest for general information regarding Burmese refugees. While responding to the stated TA inquiry, it became evident that the student’s interest in Burmese refugees stemmed from her professional work with a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program. Through the CASA program she had been assigned to several Burmese refugee children removed from their parents following charges of abuse. BRYCS contacted SEARAC and other partners and connected the student and CASA program with several Burmese community based organizations to help with cultural and interpretation services. BRYCS also used this opportunity to provide additional resources and assistance to CASA related to refugees and child welfare concerns. BRYCS’ involvement has meant that the Burmese children and families CASA was working with received culturally and linguistically appropriate services, avoiding potentially harmful misunderstandings. Moreover, as CASA works with any refugee child in the future, not just Burmese, they will be aware of how to access refugee-specific child welfare resources.
BRYCS consults with Refugee School Impact service provider on Congolese youth/family
Recently, BRYCS received a technical assistance (TA) request from a caseworker assisting two Congolese youth who were expressing suicidal feelings and experiencing family conflict. BRYCS consulted with the caseworker regarding family strengthening, refugee mental health and parenting resources, and referred the caseworker to the Refugee Health Technical Assistance Center (RHTAC) for further assistance on the clinical component on the case. When BRYCS followed up, this service provider was using the resources, connecting with the local child welfare department to inquire about family preservation services, and discussing the possibility of doing parenting workshops with local refugee resettlement agencies.
BRYCS helps Burmese attached minor enroll in school
A Burmese attached minor was resettled in the South with his older adult brother. In 2011, the minor moved to the East coast to live with his aunt and uncle; once there, he had problems enrolling in school due to guardianship issues and resistance on the part of the school. Furthermore, there were no resettlement agencies near his new home. BRYCS worked with the caseworker in the South to connect with the school counselor on the East coast. Additionally, BRYCS coordinated with lawyers from the Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center to inform the school counselor about laws related to informal kinship caregivers and school enrollment on the East Coast, brief the counselor on “Refugee 101,” and convey this minor’s particular situation. In a case stretching across half the country, BRYCS was able to use its national reach to facilitate communication among the family and various providers in both states. After much conversation, the school agreed to enroll the child.
Maryland Student Heads to College-Volunteer Mentor Makes Connections Through BRYCS Network
A volunteer helping a Maryland high school student from Burma contacted BRYCS for assistance with the student’s desire to apply to college; her high school guidance counselor had little experience working with refugee students and had not been able to help her with this goal. This particular refugee youth arrived from Burma four years ago. Her last report card demonstrated a 3.9 GPA based on ESL and basic high school courses. She showed a strong interest in math and science and participated in a summer precollege program designed to prepare students for careers in math, engineering, science, and technology. The volunteer searched but was unable to find local resources to assist this student in her goals. In this consultation, BRYCS first tapped into established connections with local school districts, including the district the student attended. The volunteer was introduced to one of the district’s international student advisors as well as the Metropolitan Area Association of Foreign Student Advisors. BRYCS also helped the volunteer network with Refugee School Impact Grantees and sent her resources from the BRYCS Clearinghouse directly applicable to her situation. Finally, BRYCS offered to post the volunteer’s questions to the BRYCS Discussion Listserv. The listserv exploded with responses from community colleges, resettlement agencies, ethnic community based organizations, and state refugee offices from all over the country, offering advice for earning a higher education, including resources for financial and admissions assistance. The volunteer’s question had a “ripple effect” as over 1,500 individuals on the BRYCS listserv received the collective response from the field. Most important, the refugee student is now applying to colleges and plans to pursue a career in math or science. In addition, the school district and counselor received the information they needed to better serve refugee students in the future.
BRYCS assists Liberian family over three years
In 2011, a call came in about a Liberian minor in New England and it was quickly realized this was the same case BRYCS had assisted with a number of times in the past three years. This minor was originally resettled in the Midwest where she reunified with her mother; however, their relationship was very strained and the placement broke down. BRYCS gave the refugee caseworker resources to provide supports for the family, but the minor ended up in mainstream foster care. Over time the local foster care agency consulted with BRYCS for resources; BRYCS educated the local agency on sources of information and support when working with refugee youth. When the youth emancipated in 2011 at the age of 18, she moved to New England to be with her great aunt. She wished to enroll in the local high school, but did not have any identification or other paperwork. The great aunt happened to call BRYCS for help and we were able to connect the state’s Refugee School Impact staff with the resettlement caseworker in the Midwest and the young woman was able to enroll in school. The continuity of BRYCS’ services and staff were crucial to success of this minor over several years.