Refugee & Immigrant Services Program Manual

Helping Families. Supporting Communities. Empowering Individuals.
  1. I. Introduction
  2. II. Policy: Rules and Regulations
  3. III. Contract Process
  4. IV. Program Plan and Deliverables
  5. V. Department Responsibilities
  6. VI. Program Budget/Billing Instructions

I. Introduction

The Bureau of Refugee and Immigrant Services funds, manages and monitors contracts designed to: help newly arriving refugees achieve self-sufficiency in the United States; and provide WIC and SNAP Outreach and interpretation services to limited English proficient individuals requiring supportive services.

Refugee Social Service activities are authorized under the Refugee Act of 1980 (PL 96-212) as amended, and by the Refugee Assistance Extension Act of 1986 (PL 99-605) as amended. The Act enables the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Department of Health and Human Services, to reimburse state governments for the provision of refugee social services as specified in 45 CFR 400. The designated single state agency for administering such funds in Illinois is the Department of Human Services (IDHS).

WIC and SNAP Outreach to limited-English-proficient immigrants and refugees is provided though the support of the Bureau of Family Nutrition Program.  

II. Policy: Rules and Regulations

  1. All services must be performed in full compliance with federal and state statutes and regulations governing organizational, fiscal, and programmatic integrity and accountability.
  2. All refugee services must comply with 45 CFR 400, the federal Refugee Resettlement Program codification.
  3. All providers receiving $500,000 or more in federal funds are subject to 2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements For Federal Awards and the 30 ILCS, Grant Accountability and Transparency Act.
  4. All agreements must comply with the following IDHS rules:
    1. Illinois Administrative Code, Title 89 Social Services, Chapter IV: Department of Human Services, Subchapter A: General Program Provisions, Part 507 Audit Requirements of DHS;
    2. Illinois Administrative Code, Title 89 Social Services, Chapter XX: Department of Human Services, Part 509 Fiscal/Administrative Recordkeeping and Requirements; 
    3. Illinois Administrative Code, Title 89 Social Services, Chapter IV: Department of Human Services, Part 511 Grants and Grant Funds Recovery.

III. Contract Process

Refugee and immigrant services are procured annually, contingent on the availability of funds. The first year results from competitive procurement. Subsequent years are based on available funding, continuing need, and satisfactory program performance agency by agency.

Eligible contractors are state or local public agencies, private non-profit agencies, or private for-profit firms.

Any agency which has not previously held a contract with IDHS must provide proof of agency incorporation and 501C (3) status (if applicable); a list of current Board members; and the previous year's fiscal audit. Agencies that cannot meet these requirements but who wish to apply are encouraged to secure an established sponsoring agency to serve as fiscal agent.

Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)

At the time a NOFO is released, prospective applicants may submit questions in writing. Any questions or concerns resulting in modification of the NOFO will be communicated to all applicants who have submitted a letter of intent. No modifications to the NOFO during the procurement process will be considered after the Bidder's Conference.

All information submitted pursuant to the NOFO is subject to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. The successful Provider must recognize and accept that any material marked proprietary or confidential that must be made part of the contract may be considered open for public inspection. Price information submitted by the successful Provider shall be considered public. Only the record of losing proposals (the list of those submitting proposals/responses) shall be considered public.

The Department of Human Services may withdraw the Notice of Funding Opportunity at any time prior to the actual time an agreement is filed with the Comptroller.

All aspects of the proposal and/or subsequent post-award negotiations with the successful applicant will become contractual obligations. The IDHS reserves the right to negotiate the award amount, budget items, and programmatic goals (including ethnic groups to be served) of all contract awards, subject to the availability of funds, effectiveness of service components, and the requirements of geographic and ethnic coverage.

Justifiable modifications may be made in the course of the contract only through prior consultation with and the written approval of IDHS and/or its representative. Failure of the successful applicant to accept these obligations may result in cancellation of the award.


Applicants who object to any provision of the NOFO, who believe their proposal was improperly rejected, or that the selected proposal(s) is/are not in the best interest of the Department may submit a written protest of the Department's action. The Department will consider all such written protests which are properly and timely submitted. The Department will investigate all allegations and issue a written response. The decision of the Department is final.

  1. Protests must be in writing and considered filed when physically received by the Department at the following address: Chief, Bureau of Refugee & Immigrant Services Illinois Department of Human Services 401 South Clinton Chicago, Illinois 60607.
  2. Protest must be filed within seven (7) days after the protestor knows or should have known of the facts giving rise to the protest.
  3. Protests regarding specifications must be filed within seven (7) days after the date the NOFO was issued and in any event must be filed before the date for opening the proposals.
  4. If protest is received, any award made is not final until the protest is resolved.

IV. Program Plan and Deliverables

Refugee Social Services

Those providing service through the Refugee Social Services initiative should use the following principles in the development of their programs:

  • Refugee Social services will, wherever possible, have a family focus and should be designed to enhance family self-sufficiency through early employment and cultural adaptation;
  • Program design will insure proactive client outreach and follow-up;
  • Program design will accommodate the special needs of clients including those requirements imposed by the Transitional Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program;
  • Where appropriate, program design will prevent duplication of services through formalized coordination and interagency cooperation;
  • Program design and appropriate staffing will reflect the ethnic diversity of refugee clients and will be culturally and linguistically responsive to the proposed client population;
  • Program design will be based on measurable performance standards, which will enable objective reporting, monitoring, and requisites for continued purchase of service during the contract period.

Provider must assume that other programs will responsibly perform the Reception and Placement process administered by the Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration for Refugee Programs. Resettlement Agencies are responsible for a range of services for a period of up to 90 days, and not less than 30 days, including health screening referral, and if at all possible, job placement.

Activities such as recruitment, orientation and training of sponsors, as well as fund-raising, are appropriate to Reception and Placement, and are not allowable under this initiative.

Refugees resettled through the voluntary agency Matching Grant program may not receive employment services under this initiative during months two through six in the United States. Match Grant refugees are eligible for other services in this initiative provided that those services are not also being funded by the Matching Grant program. Successful applicants are required to provide a list of enrolled match grant clients to the Illinois Department of Human Services.

WIC and SNAP Outreach Services

Those providing services through the WIC and SNAP Outreach should address those problems specific to immigrant and refugee clients and demonstrate special concern for the linguistic and cultural barriers to self-sufficiency and service access experienced by these populations and facilitate immigrant access to programs administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services and other safety net programs. Goals should include increased enrollment in WIC and SNAP benefits.

Performance Measurements and Standards

Each of the previously mentioned Programs have program-specific measurements and standards that are referenced within the CSA Exhibits. Those standards represent a set of directives as to how the particular program is to be implemented.

Reporting and Monitoring Requirements

Reporting and monitoring requirements are detailed within the CSA Exhibits.

V. Department Responsibilities


The Department will utilize one (1) of the funding methods outlined below. The Provider's billing and reporting requirements are detailed in the Program Plan.

  1. Fixed Rate - Means a Program for which the payments for non-Medicaid services are made on the basis of a rate, unit cost or allowable cost incurred and are based on a statement or bill as required by DHS. Fixed-Rate payments are subject to all Federal administrative regulations and requirements including, but not limited to, 2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements For Federal Awards and the 30 ILCS, Grant Accountability and Transparency Act. Fixed-Rate services are non-Medicaid services. A Fixed-Rate agreement, in common terminology, is non-Medicaid fee-for-service agreement.
  2. Grants - Payment(s) to the Provider that provide services as outlined in the approved Program Plan. Funds may be distributed prospectively, either monthly or as one (1) time award. Based upon the provisions in the Program Plan, the grant will be reconciled using a or be below:
    1. Program spending is reconciled against the approved budget in the Program Plan, based upon reports submitted by the Provider. Any funds left outstanding after reconciliation are subject to the Grant Funds Recovery Act.
    2. The Grant amount is reconciled based upon services and rates as specified in the approved Program Plan, using information on services as submitted by the Provider. Any funds left outstanding after the reconciliation are subject to the Grant Funds Recovery Act.
    3. The Provider must submit accurate reports (services or cost as specified by the Department). Grant payments may be suspended if reports are not received in the proper format or timely as specified in the Program Plan.

Approved Budget

  1. The Department is not liable for costs incurred by the Provider that are not contained in the approved program budget. Except as otherwise stated or provided for in the approved Program Plan, no payment for extra charges, supplies or expenses shall be made without prior approval from the Department.
  2. The Department reserves the right to correct or return to the Provider for correction any documents with mathematical or computational errors in payment subtotals or total contractual obligation.
  3. After consultation with Provider, Department may increase or decrease the contract at any time during the term, subject to funding availability and/or satisfactory performance of services.


  1. The Bureau of Refugee and Immigrant Services will facilitate communications between Providers and governmental agencies as might be required for program operations or in regard to individual cases. Such agencies include (but are not limited to): the Office of Refugee Resettlement (DHHS), IDHS Division of Family and Community Services, IDHS Division of Mental Health, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois State Board of Education.
  2. The Bureau will consult with resettlement agencies on a regular basis to assure appropriate staffing and services are deployed.
  3. The Bureau will provide or provide for on-going training and technical assistance as might be required by Providers to maintain responsive and effective service delivery. The Department will provide the Provider with training on: Policy and program requirements; billing and vouchering process; participant referral process; use of Department forms; issuance and authorization of supportive services; and, fiscal monitoring process/expectation. Thereafter, the Department will provide the Provider with technical assistance at the Provider's request

VI. Program Budget/Billing Instructions

Request for reimbursement will be made on a monthly basis, or as specified in the Contract Exhibits, utilizing a claim form provided. Claims must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. Such documentation will include (but is not limited to): payroll records, receipts, utility/telephone bills, and staff travel documentation. Claims will be made in accordance with approved line-item budgets. Claims will be submitted to the administrative entity within fifteen (15) days after the end of each calendar month, or as specified in the Contract Exhibits, for services provided in such month(s).