Hispanic Voices Shines Light on Issues Facing Hispanic Children and Families

nrcIt’s an eventful time for the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families! Today, we launch our new website; release a brief, The Complex and Varied Households of Low-Income Hispanic Children; and announce an upcoming webinar. More on the brief and webinar are below. However, before we get to those, this inaugural Hispanic Voices post is also the perfect opportunity to reflect on the Center’s unique contributions and our mission to help programs and policies better serve low-income Hispanic children and families. So, what are the Center’s unique contributions? We have three answers:

  1. A focus on low-income Hispanic children and families. Hispanics represent one of the largest and fastest growing racial/ethnic minority groups in the U.S. Roughly one in four children and 17 percent of the general population is Hispanic. Given these demographic trends, how Hispanics fare will have profound implications for the future well-being of our country. Unfortunately, the data tell us that economic security is precarious for many Hispanic children: roughly one-third live in poverty and two-thirds live in low-income households.
  2. A focus on the well-being of children AND families. Our research takes into account not just child well-being, but also the well-being of the whole family. In doing so, we recognize that the family context is one of the most important factors in healthy child development. This is why our research focuses on such issues as family formation and household structure of low-income Hispanics, and the ability of these families to provide critical resources.
  3. A focus on improving service utilization and the relevance and quality of programs for Hispanics. The data tell us that despite high rates of poverty, Hispanics—and particularly immigrant populations-have lower rates of participation in government programs such as SNAP, when compared with other racial/ethnic minority groups. Why this is the case is not well understood and is likely a result of a complex set of issues, including recency of arrival to the U.S. and language barriers of some Hispanic families. Indeed, roughly half of U.S.-born Hispanic children have at least one parent who was born outside of the U.S., and approximately three quarters speak a language other than English at home. Since so many Hispanic children live in households with limited economic resources, Hispanic children are part of the target population of many of our programs and policies.

Our expert staff carries out the Center’s work through a cross-cutting research agenda in three areas, a broad range of capacity building and outreach activities to collaborate with and build the field, and an applied summer research fellowship to attract, develop, and expand the pool of emerging scholars from across the country who are focused on studying issues of relevance to low-income, Hispanic children and families.

Exploring the Household Complexity of Low-Income Hispanic Children

To fulfill our mission and improve services to low-income Hispanic children and families, we need to understand the context in which they live. Our new research report, The Complex and Varied Households of Low-Income Hispanic Children, provides a new look at family structure, living conditions, and adult employment in low-income Hispanic children’s households. We found that the more than five million Hispanic children who live with families that are below the poverty line face both potential advantages and challenges compared with low-income white and black children, and identify differences in the characteristics of low-income Hispanic children’s households headed by parents who were born in the United States and those born elsewhere. In some cases, children with at least one foreign-born parent live in households that provide notable advantages. Overall, the report stresses that a child’s family and the nature of their household can profoundly shape a family’s need for programs and services.

Access the full report here.

Join us for a Webinar Examining the Formation and Households of Low-Income Hispanic Families

Please join us for our upcoming webinar on Wednesday, February 11 from1:30-2:30pm ET: Examining the Formation and Households of Low-Income Hispanic Families. The webinar will answer two fundamental questions regarding low-income Hispanic families: how are they formed and structured, and what do those households look like?

Speakers include:

  • Lina Guzman, Michael Lopez, and Elizabeth Wildsmith from the Center;
  • Ann Rivera, Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation, an office of the Administration for Children & Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;
  • Richard J. Noriega of AVANCE, Inc.; and
  • Charisse Johnson, Office of Family Assistance, an office of the Administration for Children & Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

We will discuss findings from the Center’s briefs, Family Structure and Family Formation among Low-Income Hispanics in the U.S. and The Complex and Varied Households of Low-Income Hispanic Children (both available here), and the implications of these findings for programs and policies. Time is reserved for a question-and-answer session.

We hope you will join us for an engaging conversation about this research, and how we can use it to best move the field forward for low-income Hispanic children and families.

Stay Connected with the Center!

You also can stay connected with us through our LinkedIn group, on Twitter @NRCHispanic, or send an email to info@HispanicResearchCenter.org.

Lina Guzman, Ph.D., Child Trends, and Michael López, Ph.D., Abt Associates
Co-Principal Investigators of the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families

The National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families is supported by grant #90PH0025 from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, an office of the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, the Administration for Children and Families, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

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