Abstract: What Are the Important Factors Related to Refugees' Service Provision? (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

204P What Are the Important Factors Related to Refugees' Service Provision?

Friday, January 18, 2019
Continental Parlors 1-3, Ballroom Level (Hilton San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Eunyoung Jang, MSW, Ph.D Cadidate, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, MO
Mansoo Yu, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, MO

Due to the global refugee crisis, the United States is dealing with an increase number of refugee claimants. For instance, the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. has increased from 56,384 in 2011 to almost 85,000 in 2016 (Refugee Processing Center, 2018). Service providers are likely to meet first with refugees. However, little is known about what factors are associated with service provision for refugees among service providers. Prior research suggests that both personal and organizational factors be taken into consideration in the examination of service provision for refugees. Using a theoretical framework that combines the gateway provider model, cultural competence model, and organization theory, this study examined how social service provision for refugees is influenced by the service providers’ personal factors and organizational culture factors.


This non-experimental, cross-sectional study utilized an online survey to collect information from115 service providers who work for refugees. The data include demographics (gender, race/ethnicity, age, education level, and job titles), personal factors (knowledge of refugee, familiarity with community resources, and cultural competence), and organizational culture factors (proficiency, rigidity, and resistance), and service provision and referral. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Resettlement Handbook of the United States of America (2014) was used to create a measure of 23 kinds of service provision and referral consisting of six domains: orientation, basic needs, assistance to access benefits, employment, health, and other services (e.g., transportation, translation, legal support). No interrelations between personal and organizational factors were found. Consequently, multiple regression analyses were used to examine relative effects of personal and organizational culture factors on service provision and referral.


The results showed that the age of the participated refugee service providers ranged from 23 to 75 with an average age of 36.3 years. Over three fourth (75.3%) of the participants were white, and most (81.5%) were females. More than half (59.6%) had completed a graduate degree. About one in three (62.3%) worked in the areas of refugee resettlement. The results of regression analyses revealed that familiarity with community resources positively predicted services such as basic needs, assistance to access benefits, employment, and other services whereas Cultural awareness/sensitivity negatively predicted health related service provision. Cultural competence positively predicted every domain of service provision. Refugee service providers who worked in a rigid culture organization were less likely to assist refugees with accessing the benefits they are eligible and job training compared to those providers working in a flexible environment. None of the other organizational culture factors predicted service provision and referral.

Conclusions and Implications

Our study showed that more personal than organizational factors are important in providing services to refugees. Service providers who are familiar with community resources and culturally competent are likely to provide a greater number of services. Trainings enhancing providers’ personal capability to be familiar with community resources and be culturally competent, and mainlining a flexible organizational environment may be useful in providing services to refugees. Implications for policy will be discussed.