Rachele King begins work on national refugee task force
Rachele King, Resettlement Programs Office state refugee coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Human Services, along with colleagues from Colorado and Illinois, recently worked with American Public Human Services Association leadership to develop a Joint Task Force on Refugees and Unaccompanied Children. The task force will unite human services representatives from 10 states to address the effects of the influx of refugees and unaccompanied children on human services operations, facilitate communication between state and federal offices, and determine appropriate policy responses and help departments provide proper services to these populations.
Task force members hope to determine similarities in refugee services administration between states and recommend federal legislation based on those similarities. The goal, King says, is to bridge the gap between the state employees who work directly with refugee populations and the federal legislators charged with making policy. The task force will also pool data about refugee services in individual states to amass federal statistics. Members will seek to eliminate the gaps in previously collected data.
The task force is currently establishing its charter and priorities. When the task force determines actionable steps, members will bring their plans before the association’s Leadership Council for discussion. King says she hopes that bringing together refugee services coordinators from different states will offer each state new tools to apply to their work.
At the department, King serves as a voice for refugees in state policy decisions, coordinates resettlement efforts, and facilitates funding and cooperation between state and federal offices. She also organizes cross-sector engagement to promote welcoming environments for refugees and works on policy to develop a basic support infrastructure for refugees.