Special Projects Fund

Grantee Name

Catholic Family Center

Funding Area

Special Projects Fund

Publication Date

February 2016

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

July 2013 – January 2015

Since the approval of the U.S. Refugee Act in 1980, 3 million refugees have resettled in the United States.

In New York, 90% of refugees have resettled upstate, with more than 50% residing in the counties of Monroe, Onondaga, and Oneida. Rochester—one of the largest recipients of resettled refugees and asylum seekers in the State—is home to more than 5,300 refugees, receiving more than 700 new refugees annually. Unfortunately, many of these refugees were victims of torture.

Torture survivors require specialized care that is individually tailored and coordinated across multiple areas of assistance, which can include psychological and medical treatment, legal representation related to immigration, and supportive social services.

NYHealth awarded Catholic Family Center (CFC) a grant to provide its staff members with specialized training, technical assistance, and evaluation services related to assisting torture survivors.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Built upon the existing capacity for refugee assistance and related mental health provision in Western New York;
  • Provided 800 hours of interpretation services in support of mental health clinicians at CFC’s mental health clinic, which resulted in staff members being able to complete assessments and connect clients who were survivors of torture to proper care;
  • Held three separate trainings from March through June 2014 on assessment, best practice therapy models, and psychological issues facing refugees—especially those suffering from effects of torture and trauma;
  • Screened, identified, and made referrals for refugees who have survived torture;
  • Forge close collaborative partnerships among the Western New York Center for Survivors of Torture (the Center) and other relevant health care providers;
  • Trained other refugee-serving organizations throughout the community to screen and identify torture survivors and refer them to the Center for appropriate care;
  • Worked collaboratively with Jewish Family Services (the lead agency in Buffalo representing the Center) and other providers from Rochester and Buffalo on areas related to refugee assistance, mental health and health care, and immigration legal assistance; and
  • Facilitated an in-person meeting between staff members from the Center and Rochester General Hospital, which provided an opportunity for attendees to exchange information about approaches to refugee mental health, trauma, and care for victims of torture.