Spotlight on Cultural Competence and Family Strengthening

“The Latino population in the United States is young and growing, so highlighting family strengthening programs and strategies was an outstanding way to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month,” according to Joyce A. Thomas, Regional Administrator for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Region 2 office.  The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, Inc. (CHCF) and ACF’s Region 2 office partnered to sponsor a seminar, “Culturally Competent Family Strengthening Strategies: Research and Implementation,” on Thursday, September 25, 2013 at CHCF’s office in New York City.  The event was part of ongoing efforts to strengthen families and reach out to the Hispanic community in Region 2, which includes New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The program opened with welcoming remarks from Elba Montalvo, CHCF’s Founder, President/CEO and ACF’s Joyce A. Thomas.  Featured presentations began with Hamlet Hernández’s inspirational remarks about fatherhood and his experiences growing up in New York City and as a participant in CHCF’s Responsible Fatherhood Program.  On June 13, 2013, Mr. Hernández received the NYC DADS Matter Award. New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg gave the award to 10 young fathers of over 400 deserving nominees who have overcome challenges to become positive and consistent forces in the lives of their children.

Dr. Juan Torres and Dr. Stacey Bouchet delivered presentations based on research conducted as part of the “Hispanic Healthy Marriage Initiative (HHMI) Grantee Implementation Evaluation” sponsored by ACF’s Office of Program, Research and Evaluation.  Dr. Torres delivered an insightful presentation titled “Cultural Strategies to Enhance Hispanic Participation in Family-Strengthening Programs.” Dr. Bouchet  spoke about “Domestic Violence: Lessons and Findings.” Juan Torres, PhD, is a faculty member at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work.  Stacey Bouchet, PhD, now the Principal Consultant for Bouchet and Associates Strategic Consulting, conducted this research while Executive Director for Women In Fatherhood, Inc.

ACF is well-positioned to address many of the challenges faced by the Hispanic community.   ACF has identified important strategies to support underserved and underrepresented populations.  These strategies call for strengthening research and programs targeting these populations and conducting outreach to stakeholders and providers.  More information about ACF’s programs can be found at www.acf.hhs.gov.  You can read more about the HHMI Grantee Implementation Evaluation at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre.