Through this charter, the Leadership Council (“Council”) of the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) appoints the Joint Task Force on Refugees and Unaccompanied Children (“Task Force”) to assist the Council in setting and overseeing implementation of those elements of the association’s policy agenda outlined below.


The Leadership Council serves as the overall coordinating entity within APHSA for setting and overseeing implementation of APHSA’s policy and practice agenda, under the direction of the APHSA Executive Governing Board. The Council is composed of members selected from the State CEO Council, the Local Policy Council, and each APHSA affiliate. The Council determines specific policy and practice directions to strengthen and advance the association’s mission and strategic plan, as expressed through the overall direction of the APHSA Board.


Overall Charge:  The Council appoints the Task Force to carry out the specific primary responsibilities described below. The Task Force is ad-hoc work group of the Council and may be terminated or modified by the Council at such time that the Council determines, through consultation with the Task Force, that the Task Force’s work has been completed or its nature has evolved. The Task Force:


(1) Carries out its specific agenda of (a) assessing the nature of the influx of refugees and unaccompanied children, and their impacts on state and local human service agencies and on related human-serving sectors; and (b) determining appropriate policy and practice responses to mitigate these impacts, providing proper supports and services to these populations, and providing needed information and resources to human services agencies and their stakeholders and partners.


(2) Convenes regularly to determine detailed policy and practice issues relevant to its agenda; recommend action steps that should be brought before the Leadership Council for discussion and action; and serve as a forum for communication and resources among APHSA members, stakeholders, and partners. 


(3) Carries out or recommends, as appropriate, communication of information, best practices, and other resources among APHSA members, stakeholders, and partners, including federal agency staff.


Composition and Staffing:  The Task Force is composed of (1) interested members of the Leadership Council and its designees, and (2) interested state refugee coordinators housed in state departments of human services, who are willing to participate in and contribute to the Task Force’s work. (As the need arises, the Task Force may communicate with a larger group of interested APHSA members and stakeholders for the purposes of sharing information, soliciting ideas, and determining policy and practice strategies.) The Task Force is staffed by APHSA’s Director of Strategic Initiatives. 


Primary Tasks:  The Task Force’s initial primary tasks include the following: 

  • The Task Force will set objectives and timelines for 2016, and for future years as the Task Force continues in existence.
  • The Task Force will draft or issue, as appropriate, statements and documents that further its purposes including fact sheets, survey results, policy briefs, and similar documents as needed.
  • The Task Force will examine how issues surrounding refugees and unaccompanied children should be framed within APHSA’s overall goals and perspectives, particularly including:
    • what information agencies and staff need to know;
    • how best to communicate needed facts and perspectives to the full range of human services agencies, stakeholders, and partners;
    • what support is appropriate from APHSA’s affiliates;
    • how APHSA’s commitment to advancing the Human Services Value Curve applies to these issues;
    • how these issues can be more effectively integrated and aligned with existing human services focus areas such as child and family well-being, assistance programs, behavioral health, federal funding structures, and cross-sector partnerships.  

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