Outreach Programs

hands-barsJail & Prison Ministry

Promoting Restorative Justice

Offenders and ex-offenders can be some of the most vulnerable members of our society.  Current criminal justice systems do not assist individuals to overcome the social and psychological challenges of either incarceration, or positive reentry into family and community life. Individuals released from jail or prison often return to their communities with no employment, home, or support system. Through a vast network of volunteer mentors and support groups, Catholic Charities’ Jail & Prison Ministry program strives to prepare and support ex-offenders as they work toward positive re-entry into family and community life.  Mentors meet with offenders in prison or jail as well as after their release to provide the needed support to resist relapse into old habits and lifestyles.  The program helps ex-offenders establish positive relationships, experience healthy social activities, and connect with community resources that can aid in finding work, affordable housing, and meeting basic needs.

Jail and Prison Ministry program available throughout the Archdiocese, with Area Coordinators in Ames, Cedar Rapids, Dubuque (Program Headquarters), Marshalltown, Mason City, rural Northeast Iowa, and Waterloo.

Refugee Resettlement

Strengthening Families

In partnership with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Catholic Charities helps refugee families from all over the world, who have suffered war, tyranny and persecution in their home countries, to relocate and begin the process of starting a new life in an Iowa community.  Each year, the U.S. government allows a predetermined number of refugees to resettle in the U.S.  Over the past decade, this has allowed for 70,000 – 91,000 refugees to enter the U.S. Ten agencies, including USCCB, contract with the U.S. State Department to facilitate the resettlements.  Upon entry into the United States, Catholic Charities assists the newcomers to secure housing, food and clothing, translation, medical and employment services and to assimilate to a new community and culture, aiding in their growth towards self-sufficiency. This process all takes place within 90 days.

Refugee Resettlement services available in throughout the Archdiocese with program headquarters in Cedar Rapids.

  • To learn about individual volunteering opportunities, visit our volunteering page, or contact Agnes Kress, Volunteer Coordinator, a.kress@dbqarch.org
  • Click here to learn more about our Families Strengthening Families Mentoring Program for parish/group volunteering
  • Click here for more information about the Syrian Refugee Crisis

business woman signing a contractImmigration Legal Services

Strengthening Families

Catholic Charities’ immigration staff provides legal services to help reunite families by assisting them in navigating the immigration system and advocating on their behalf. Catholic Charities assists with paperwork for green card and citizenship applications, family and visitor visas, deferred action for childhood arrivals, temporary protected status, violence against women act, and other family-based immigration legal services.

Translation assistance for legal documents such as birth, marriage, and divorce certificates is also available.

Immigration Legal Services available in Cedar Rapids, Decorah, Dubuque and Waterloo. Consultation with community partners and parishes available throughout the Archdiocese.