Latino families have experienced a disproportionate burden from the COVID-19 pandemic. As of September 2020, Latinos have represented 29.5 percent of all COVID-191 cases for which race/ethnicity data are available (while representing only 18.5 percent of the total U.S. population). Latinos also have the second-highest mortality rate of all racial/ethnic groups when age is considered. Higher-than-expected rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths may be due to Latinos’ overrepresentation among essential workers and unpaid caregivers. The economic impact of the pandemic has also been substantial, with 49 percent of Latino adults reporting that they or someone in their family have lost a job or experienced a reduction in wages. The impact on mental health has also been severe, with a recent survey showing that Latinos are reporting the highest prevalence of symptoms of anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts of any racial/ethnic group.
Agencies that serve Latino communities have also faced numerous challenges during the pandemic. These include challenges in providing virtual programming and addressing families’ basic needs like food and housing, and meeting emergent needs related to staff training and family stress. In July 2020, the National Research Center for Hispanic Children & Families held a panel discussion with leaders of four organizations—AVANCE, Identity, Family Bridges, and El Futuro (see below)—that have redesigned services to meet the needs of Latino communities flexibly and creatively during the COVID-19 pandemic. These organizations represent different types of programs (e.g., parent education, youth development, marriage and family strengthening, mental health) across the country.
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