Statement of Need: Arkansas does not currently have programs and services specifically designed for TANF-eligible refugees. TANF-eligible refugees comprise 61 percent of the refugee population in Arkansas and face additional barriers to self-sufficiency and integration, including achieving job upgrades to exceed the federal poverty level, accessing English language education after securing a job, and navigating the school system. Sixty-two percent of TANF-eligible households lost access to public benefits between 2016-2018 after six months in the US due to lack of extended case management support to navigate the public benefits system. In addition, 68 percent of refugees arrive in Arkansas with limited English proficiency; while 100 percent of these individuals access English language classes during the Reception and Placement period, only 28 percent continue attending classes after securing employment, due to lack of accessible ESL class options. Sixty-one percent of refugee arrivals since 2018 are school-age children. Children and their families need assistance navigating the US school system. Canopy NWA proposes wrap-around services to address these gaps.
Target Population: Strengthening and Supporting Refugee Families will provide foundational case management services to TANF-eligible refugee families in Arkansas with 190 individuals receiving services over the course of the grant period. Over 95 percent of the population resides in Washington and Benton Counties in Northwest Arkansas and will be served through the Canopy NWA Resettlement Agency, an affiliate of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services. Services to TANF-eligible refugees outside of 100 miles of the Canopy office will receive remote services through a partnership with Arkansas Immigrant Defense, Little Rock office.
Services and Activities: Strengthening and Supporting Refugee Families in Arkansas is a dual-generational case management program and suite of services designed to promote financial self-sufficiency and integration for refugee families for up to three years post-arrival. Services will include: 1) foundational case management, including evening, weekend and remote options, 2) youth services designed to improve parent-teacher communications and student academic achievement and social-emotional wellbeing, and 3) an in-home English language tutoring model designed to fill the gaps in access to English language classes in the region and promote English language proficiency. Programs will be designed to address the unique needs and challenges of single-mother households which make up 43 percent of the TANF-eligible refugee population in Arkansas.