USCRI: U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

Refugee Family Strengthening Programs

USCRI’s family strengthening programs serves diverse refugee populations while upholding respect for cultural values.  Programs use the internationally recognized Relationship Enhancement® model to teach communication and problem-solving skills in eight-hour workshops. USCRI adapted this model to meet the cultural and linguistic needs of the diverse refugee populations in the United States.  These skills are applicable not only to marriage, but also parenting, extended family, friends, colleagues, and employers.  USCRI also builds the capacity of refugee communities to  strengthen communication skills and family relationships through its mentoring programs, community leader trainings, and community events.

Partnership with IDEALS
USCRI is partnered with the Institute for the Development of Emotional and Life Skills (IDEALS) to provide an evidence-based skill training program.  IDEALS is a national non-profit institute with the mission to “teach people methods of communicating with others, dealing with emotions, and solving problems.”  The organization trains people in Relationship Enhancement® (RE) programs and therapies.  More information about RE is available at USCRI's Refugee Family Strengthening Resource Center >>


Through this partnership, USCRI adapted the MML Relationship Enhancement Program by Bernard Guerney Jr. and Mary Ortwein to meet the unique needs of refugees and new immigrants.  USCRI's materials are culturally sensitive, gender balanced, and meet the diverse language and literacy needs of the different populations served. 

Workshops: Introduction to Relationship Enhancement®

Refugee adults are introduced to the Relationship Enhancement® model of communication.  Participants discuss how their marriage and relationships have changed in America and ways to better support one another.  They learn how to communicate their experiences by not only talking about events and stressors, but also about each other's thoughts, concerns, desires, and feelings.  Upon completion, participants will gain four core skills in showing understanding through empathy and validation, expression, discussion, and problem solving.

Workshops: Family Stress & Conflict Management
Refugee families discuss the common sources of tension in family relationships in the United States, and how this is further impacted by the resettlement experience and cultural differences.  Participants learn about the connection between stress and emotional reactions and how to manage both.  Upon completion, participants will gain an additional five core skills in self change, helping others change, conflict management, coaching, and maintenance skills.

Workshops: Relationship Enhancement® & Financial Literacy

Couples apply their communication skills to financial matters.  They discuss the difference between the financial values, habits, and goals in their home country and those  in the United States.  Upon completion, participants will gain two core Relationship Enhancement® skills in self change and helping others change, and four key financial literacy skills: saving, credit cards, consumer threats, and budgeting.

Local Mentoring Programs
Mentor couples share their experiences with younger, newly married, or recently arrived refugee couples.  USCRI’s mentoring programs support refugee couples who have completed Relationship Enhancement® workshops to aid in goals of self sufficiency and successful integration. The program provides refugee couples an additional forum to discuss the impacts of resettlement and ways to strengthen families.

Local Community Events
Families unite in their communities through organized events and outings.  Refugees can celebrate or observe American and ethnic holidays. Outings help families get familiar with their new American communities and available resources.

 Resource Library

Iraqi family using our program resource library in North Carolina.

Family Resource Libraries

Families can find resources on a variety of topics, including marriage, parenting, children, finance, and mental health.  Resources are available both in libraries and online.  Best practice resources are also available for people who volunteer or work with refugee and immigrant populations.

USCRI's Participation

USCRI leads the way in establishing best practices in marriage education and family strengthening programs for refugees and new immigrants.  Our national team is responsible for the continuous development and monitoring of the program.  We support our seven network agencies through training, resource development, and technical assistance.  USCRI also provides ongoing support for local capacity building and community empowerment.  Programs are made possible through a Refugee Healthy Marriage grant from the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services. 

©2011 USCRI
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