This US paper was produced by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) to raise the standard of care and improve access to services for traumatized children, their families and communities throughout the United States. The Refugee Trauma Task Force of the NCTSN specifically focuses on refugee children and their families. This White paper is a product of collaborative activities of this Task Force.
To learn about the services being provided within the network, the Refugee Trauma Task Force conducted a Survey of National Refugee Working Group Sites (Benson, 2004). The 13 sites surveyed are primarily located in urban areas, and serve a wide range of refugee populations from a variety of different countries. Most striking was the finding that mental health is not the only type of service provided across these sites, and that services are frequently provided outside traditional mental health clinic settings. In addition to mental health, a wide range of services is being provided, including medical, legal, case management and other social services. Alternatively, mental health programs have developed collaborations with other service providers where they refer their refugee clients. Further, most sites report conducting extensive outreach in the refugee communities and with other service agencies. In addition, most sites do not provide services only in a clinic setting, but also in schools, and in other community sites. These findings suggest that programs that provide services to refugees are using models of service that extend beyond the traditional clinic based mental health service model. The needs of refugee clients seem to require such a community based and comprehensive approach.
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