1982 refugees of South Asia representing their communities through Mutual Assistance Associations (MAA’s) came together to seek a solution to the lack of bilingual/bicultural services in King County, and created the Southeast Asia Refugee Federation Service Center (SEARF). SEARF was a grass-roots non-profit organization managed exclusively by refugees. In order to embrace and assist new refugee families SEARF changed its name to the Refugee Federation Service Center, establishing the primary goal of providing services that help refugees from everywhere achieve their dreams and self-sufficiency.
In 1986 the RFSC received federal grants through the Division of Refugee Assistance (DRA) to provide employment training and services to refugees residing in the King County area. Now the RFSC is one of the largest non-profit service providers for refugees and immigrants in King County.
The mission of the RFSC is to assist Refugees and immigrants in King County with their transition to life in the United States of America, by helping them reach self-sufficiency while maintaining their cultural and ethnic identity; to serve as resource for local companies and agencies to foster a greater understanding of the resources found with in refugee communities and partnerships; to strengthen and empower refugee communities in order to meet the needs of their respective members.
RFSC provides the following services: employment and job training, social services, advocacy, vocational skills training in electronic assembly (through PRIME pilot project), citizenship/naturalization services, housing and homeless services (including emergency rental assistance), and parenting classes.
RFSC provides a service called Limited English Proficient (LEP) administered by the Department of Social Health and Services (DSHS) Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance (ORIA). This provides employment services to LEP clients who have already received public assistance through the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) or who have received Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA). This assistance is provided to refugees who have been in King County for five years or less. This pathway service also includes: computer Basics workshops, volunteer work, work experience, community service, life skills, support services, and access to vocational training. RFSC offers employment services to clients receiving Basic Food Allowance (food stamps) under Washington state’s Basic Food Employment and Training Program (BFET). The services the RFSC provides via DSHS ORIA are information/referral, introduction to King County workshops, self-sufficiency workshops/financial literacy, basic technology workshops, translation (especially the translation of any course material), and advocacy.
We allocate all funding and resources in compliance with the regulations set by DSHS, the RFSC runs an independence audit annually. Lead by our financial director of 20 years Floyd Davis.