The Illinois Welcoming Center Program (IWC) was launched in 2007 to model a state-operated one-stop human service center designed to help immigrants navigate state services and coordinate those state services with non-profit community social service. Over the years, the Welcoming Center program has expanded to include a community-based service model.
The main features of Welcoming Centers include:
1. Welcoming Center serve as one-stop human service centers that provide comprehensive and holistic case management and service coordination to immigrants and refugees in a linguistically, culturally sensitive manner.
2. Welcoming Centers are familiar with benefits and services provided by state and federal agencies as well as social service agencies and connect individuals to appropriate services as needed through case management or referral.
3. Welcoming Centers lead efforts to coordinate social services in their particular geographic location by creating Community Alliances. These Community Alliances consist of meetings with local service providers to address common challenges shared in the delivery of services to immigrants and refugee and to enhance service effectiveness and improve service coordination.
4. Welcoming Centers host a variety of community education workshops to help immigrants and refugees learn about resources and information that can advance their successful integration and build the capacity of immigrant and refugee communities.
The goals of the Illinois Welcoming Center Program are to strengthen the overall human service delivery system for immigrants and refugees and build the capacity of immigrant and refugee communities.