Refugee resettlement programs have the potential to be welcoming or dysfunctional and dangerous, either alleviating or compounding the trauma, desperation, and instability that families faced on their journeys. In European countries like Greece, Italy, Sweden, and Germany, millions of refugees have applied for asylum though few are granted status (UNCHR, 2016). The minuscule numbers of refugees who are admitted to the U.S. go through years of “extreme vetting” (Shear & Cooper, 2017).
Refugee interventions can potentially counteract many risk factors that refugees face within the host country including post-migration violence, multiple changes of residence, poor financial support, limited access to basic resources, and discrimination (Fazel et al., 2012). If refugee resettlement programs fail to address these basic threats, the cumulative effects of trauma, acculturative stress, and other risk factors can limit resilience, foster adverse physical and mental health outcomes, and create additional long-term adversities for refugees (Dryden- Peterson, 2016). This is particularly critical for refugee children and youth who are experiencing multiplicative challenges during critical developmental stages. Although there is limited research on specific interventions needed to support optimal adaptation, refugee contexts of reception can be shaped by the programs, policies, and supports they are provided (see Dryden-Peterson, 2016; 2002.