Washington, DC — Latino grandfamilies often face additional barriers to services and supports compared to their non-Latino counterparts, including potential language difficulties, immigration challenges, and structural and institutional racism. In the United States, About one in four Latinos live in multigenerational households where a grandparent or other kin is in the home and may be doing most, if not all, of the caregiving. COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated systemic inequalities in the U.S. economy and health care system, disproportionally impacting communities of color and Latino immigrant communities.
Kinship care is a familiar practice in Latino families. Latinos have a long history of helping raise children in need of temporary or permanent families, and exhibit a willingness to assist other families based on a strong value of community and an emphasis on family.
“Familismo or the importance of family is at the center of the diverse array of histories, cultures, religions, and languages that can all be considered ‘Latino,’” says Ana Beltran, director of Generations United’s National Technical Assistance Center on Grandfamilies and Kinship Families. “It is important that service providers acknowledge familismo as one of the Latino’s communities many strengths, and do not lean on it as an excuse to limit services to these diverse grandfamilies.”
During the past several decades, political unrest, economic conditions, U.S. intervention, wars, environmental disasters, and violence in Latin American countries have propelled millions of individuals to seek a more secure life for themselves and their families in the United States. The arrival of immigrants and their U.S. born children has been a major component of Latino population growth and diversity. Culturally appropriate services are needed to support Latino families as they navigate kinship care placements, which appeal to the family system fundamental to Latino culture.
The new toolkit provides concrete tools to encourage culturally appropriate services to help children and caregivers thrive including:
- Information on the diversity of Latinos and how to serve them with cultural competence that leverages their many strengths
- The benefits and strengths of preserving and restoring cultural identity
- Practice and policy recommendations for addressing systemic racism and biases that limit existing support to Latino grandfamilies and the children they raise
Generations United has released parallel toolkits to government agencies and nonprofits to address systemic racism and better serve American Indian & Alaska Native and African American grandfamilies in culturally appropriate ways.
About Generations United: For more than three decades, Generations United’s mission has been to improve the lives of children, youth and older adults through intergenerational collaboration, public policies, and programs for the enduring benefit of all. We have been the catalyst for policies and practices stimulating cooperation and collaboration among generations, evoking the vibrancy, energy and sheer productivity that result when people of all ages come together. We believe that we can only be successful in the face of our complex future if generational diversity is regarded as a national asset and fully leveraged. www.gu.org.