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How TANF and Refugee Cash Assistance Serve Refugees


  • Refugees need aid to resettle and become self-sufficient.
  • Abt is assessing state efforts to resettle refugees.
  • Our data will be based on extensive research, including field interviews with refugees and experts.
The Challenge

The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) oversees federal efforts to resettle refugees and help them become self-sufficient. ORR administers the Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) program, which provides financial support and social services to some refugees.

ORR also collaborates with state partners – such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs – plus Mutual Assistance Associations, Voluntary Agencies (Volags) and others to provide financial assistance and supportive services. However, states and counties have flexibility in how they serve refugees.

    The Approach

    ACF contracted with Abt and our subcontractor, MEF Associates, to research and describe state efforts to help refugees attain employment and self-sufficiency. We're also examining if and how states are integrating RCA, TANF, and associated services, and what data is available or potentially available that could help ACF better understand current refugee resettlement services and suggest future areas for inquiry.

      The Results

      Abt’s comprehensive study will include:

      • Consultations with ACF program offices on relevant program information,
      • An online survey of state refugee coordinators,
      • Discussions with experts in the field, and
      • On-site field visits, including focus groups with refugees.