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RSP Staffing & Structure
Wednesday, January 02, 2008


For people interested in starting a new Religious Services Program, administering a program involves an organizational structure, a plan for each detention facility, and policies for monitoring a functioning RSP. JRS/USA manages its RSP through national and local teams. These teams work together to give detainees the chance to practice their religious beliefs and to administer pastoral care in a sensitive, friendly, and open manner. 

The National Management team works directly with the local RSP sites on program administration, program management, training, and capacity building. National Management includes the National Program Director, Deputy Program Director, and Program Assistants.

The Local Management team provides services to detainees, coordinates with the DHS staff at the detention facility, oversees program volunteers, and reports program activities to National Management.  For each local RSP site, Local Management includes the Religious Services Coordinator (Chaplain), the Religious Services Specialist, and the Administrative Assistant. Each local RSP augments its religious services and pastoral care with the time and talent of volunteers. Volunteers are trained by Local Management before they begin assisting with any activities or pastoral care.

Team Responsibilities

National Management    

  • Oversight of Local RSPs      
    • Establishes overall standards for structure and consistency to ensure that program and administrative issues are handled appropriately and to ensure that local staff follow standard operations    
    • Builds strong communicative working relationship with DHS at national and local levels
  • Financial Administration
    • Talks to local sites about needs and funding
    • Monitors each site’s monthly spending
    • Reviews and approves financial requests from sites
    • Provides monthly invoices to DHS and responds to DHS inquiries
  • Quality Control and Compliance
    • Ensures contractual obligations are fulfilled, needs of detainees met, and DHS requirements satisfied
    • Reviews monthly program reports from sites
    • Submits monthly reports to DHS
    • Improves RSP structure to address identified weaknesses in the provision of services
    • Coordinates local level corrective actions
    • Evaluates overall RSP structure
  • Coordinate Training & Technical Assistance
    • Plans initial and annual refresher training courses for local RSP staff – supplementary training provided as needed
    • Provides technical assistance to local staff
    • Maintains regular contact with sites to discuss programming and administrative issues
  • Capacity Building and Resource Development     
    • Conducts outreach to national organizations of different religions to gain assistance with RSP
    • Coordinates Multi-Faith Advisory Councils to develop local connections that can   advise local RSPs
    • Gathers information on best practices

Local Management

  • Oversight of Daily Services
    • Follows ICE/ERO Detention Standards, guidelines for Volunteer Religious Service Providers, and other policies
    • Supervises staff
  • Coordinate Services with DHS Staff
    • Serves as point of contact for DHS staff at the detention facility
    • Works with DHS and Office in Charge (OIC) on program design, event planning, volunteer clearance, reserving facilities, and coordinating services
    • Establishes communicative and positive working relationship with DHS staff
    • Respects needs and duties of DHS staff      
  • Promote Community Involvement
    • Conducts education and outreach in local community
    • Works with National Management to connect with local faith groups and other potential volunteer sources
  • Training & Supervision of Volunteers
    • Ensures that volunteers are cleared by DHS and adequately trained
    • Uses outside trainers as deemed appropriate
  • Reporting and Recordkeeping
    • Completes local reports required by DHS and National Management
    • Keeps records such as activity logs, communication logs, services delivered, case files for counseled detainees, and information from DHS or National Management
  • Capacity Building and Resource Development
    • Follows through on connections created by National Management with local programs
    • Develops own local ties when necessary
    • Maintains dialogue with National Management to determine needs for resources and assistance

National Staff Members and Responsibilities

National Program Director     

  • Responsible for financial and program administration
  • Represents organization at meetings with DHS headquarters
  • Liaises with DHS about obligations and performance of RSPs
  • Collaborates with Deputy Program Director
  • Responsible for quality control, evaluating services, and establishing structure at RSPs
  • Conducts on-site audit for site annually
  • Improves RSPs through technical assistance, resources, training, and policy review
  • Reviews monthly program reports and financial reports from sites

Deputy Program Director

  • Works with National Director on financial and program administration
  • Organizes annual training
  • Identifies training needs and how to satisfy them
  • Supervises and oversee finances of certain sites
  • Reviews monthly program reports and financial reports from sites

Program Assistants    

  • Assist the National Director and Deputy Director
  • Provide administrative and clerical support       
  • Handle communication from RSPs and direct to appropriate director       
  • Manage records of programs
  • Prepare and distribute training documents

Local Staff Members and Responsibilities

Religious Services Coordinator (Chaplain)

  • Administers local RSP
  • Manages daily operations of program
  • Ensures spiritual and religious needs of the detainees are met
  • Serves as main point of contact for local faith communities and volunteers
  • Communicates with OIC about organization and provision of religious services to detainees
  • Supervises Religious Services Specialist and Administrative Assistant
  • Submits monthly program and financial reports to National Directors
  • Ensures documentation standards are met and record keeping procedures followed

Religious Services Specialist      

  • Provides counseling to detainees
  • Facilitates other religious services
  • Develops network of pro bono, volunteer, and contracted service providers
  • Organizes training for volunteers and oversees volunteers
  • Seeks assistance and resources from local faith communities

Administrative Assistant 

  • Assists the Religious Services Coordinator and the Religious Services Specialist with administrative and clerical support
  • Maintains the RSP’s office
  • Handles RSP communications with National Management and DHS
  • Develops RSP’s filing and record keeping
  • Prepares and distributes program materials