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Refugee School Impact Program

About the Program

Washington State is one of 41 states receiving Refugee School Impact (RSI) funds from the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Funds are issued to Washington’s Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance (ORIA), which contracts with School’s Out Washington to administer the program. Through the RSI Program, School's Out Washington works to support local school systems impacted by significant numbers of refugee children and youth, ages 5-18, in the country less than five years.  

Program Outcomes

In Washington State, the Refugee School Impact Program is focused on these goals:

  1. To ensure refugee students’ high academic performance and successful school integration.
  2. To strengthen the skills, knowledge, and competence of parents, schools and community-based organizations for the benefit of refugee students.

Program Activities

School’s Out Washington’s RSI responsibilities include the following:

You can find general refugee resettlement trends and data for both the United States and Washington State online. For national refugee arrival data updated every month, please visit the Refugee Processing Center. For information on Washington State’s ORIA, please contact Molly Daggett.

For more information on School’s Out Washington’s Refugee School Impact Program activities, please contact Pang Chang, the Refugee School Impact Program Project Director. Her phone number is 206-336-6933 or 1-888-413-9300 (toll-free in WA State.) 


The United Nations (UN) defines a refugee as "a person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of their nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail him/herself of the protection of that country."

The Office of Refugee Resettlement defines “refugee children” as those who are eligible for refugee social services. This category includes:

  1. Refugees
  2. Asylees
  3. Cuban and Haitian entrants under section 501 of the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-422)
  4. Certain Amerasians from Vietnam who are admitted to the U.S. as immigrants under section 584 of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, as included in the FY 1988 Continuing Resolution (Pub. L. 100-202)
  5. Certain Amerasians from Vietnam who are U.S. citizens under Title II of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 1989 (Pub. L.100-461), 1990 (Pub. L.101-167), and 1991 (Pub. L 101-513)
  6. Victims of a severe form of trafficking who receive certification or eligibility letters from ORR and certain family members who have been programed derivative T visas (see 45 CFR 400.43 and ORR State Letters Number 01-13 as modified by State Letter Number 02-01 and Number 04-12 on trafficking victims)
  7. Children classified as Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJs) receiving services from Office of Refugee Resettlement-funded Unaccompanied Refugee Minor programs
  8. Iraqi and Afghan children with Special Immigrant Visa (SIV)

For convenience, the term "refugee" is used to encompass all such eligible persons. All State Letters issued by the ORR are found in the Policy Guidance section of their website.

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