This study was conducted to identify the marital and family problems of 31 refugee families in San Antonio and Austin, Texas. The refugees were from twelve different countries in South America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Interviews with each family focused on family structure, stress and resources, mental health, parenting, and the need for social services. Twenty-one social service providers also were surveyed for their perspectives of the needs of refugee families. Findings indicated that the primary barriers to self-sufficiency included transportation, employment, language, and the time constraints on resettlement. Separation from extended family and changing roles of family members also presented challenges. Refugees and service providers suggested that programs address the cultural competency and relevance of activities for refugee populations and that interpretation services be more accessible. In addition, improvements should be made in child care services, the availability of English as a Second Language classes, pre-resettlement orientation for refugees, the implications of resettlement for family dynamics, and vocational training. Future research should examine the effectiveness of service models, regional differences in parenting challenges, and risk factors for mental health problems. 20 references, 5 tables.
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Assessing the needs of refugee and asylee families : a Healthy Marriage Initiative. Final report.