Refugee Advisory Council



DSHS Statewide Refugee Advisory Council welcomes the Tacoma Refugee Choir at the Public Forum on August 9, 2019 in Tacoma. 

The Refugee Advisory Council (RAC) helps ensure the coordination of services for refugees and immigrants and raises awareness of issues that affect refugee and immigrant communities throughout Washington state.

The purpose of the RAC is to:

  • Convey local or regional concerns to DSHS and other state agencies
  • Prioritize refugee-related issues and concerns
  • Provide statewide planning, guidance and recommendations on policies, programs, funding and service delivery for refugees and immigrants
  • Provide information and interpretation of state policies, programs and funding to refugee and immigrant communities

The RAC’s voting members include representatives from each DSHS region of the state. Click here for the list of current Refugee Advisory Council members.


Refugee Advisory Council Upcoming Quarterly Public Forums

  • September 24, 2021, Virtual Public Forum

  • November 19, 2021, Location: TBD

Refugee Advisory Council Past Quarterly Public Forums Recordings and Materials

May 21, 2021, Virtual Public Forum: Rebuilding Refugee Resettlement in Washington State.  

  • National Context on Refugee Resettlement,
    • Lawrence Bartlett, Director of Refugee Admissions, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, U.S. Department of State
    • Kenneth Tota, Deputy Director, Office of Refugee Resettlement, Administration of Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services
  • State Context on Refugee Resettlement
    • Jasmine Matheson, State Refugee Health Coordinator, Department of Health
    • Sarah Peterson, State Refugee Coordinator Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance, Department of Social and Health Services
  • A facilitated conversation with Washington’s Refugee Resettlement Agencies
  • For the PowerPoint presentations and materials click here.
  • To watch the video recording of the Public Forum click here.  


February 19, 2021, 10:00am - 12:30PM, Virtual Public Forum

  • For more information click here
  • For PowerPoint presentations and materials click here
  • To watch the video recording of the Public Forum click here


Additional Advisory Groups

The following local Washington groups also provide feedback and guidance to DSHS on program planning for refugees and immigrants:

  • Tri-County Refugee Planning Committee (King, Pierce and Snohomish County)
  • Refugee Forum (Renton)
  • Refugee Housing Task Force (King County)
  • Refugee Service Providers Committee (Spokane)
  • Refugee Community Forum (Vancouver)
  • Service Provider Meeting (Richland)