Listening to Leaders in the Latin Community
Meet the seven trailblazers that participated in Region III’s inaugural Latino Community Leaders’ Forum on February 27: Brujo de la Mancha of Ollin Yoliztli Calmecac; Susan Daily and Nilda Ruiz of the Asociacion Puertorriquenos en Marcha (APM); José Avilés of Taller Puertorriqueño; Sybille Damas of Congresso de Latinos Unidos, Inc.; Patricia De Carlo of Norris Square Civic Association (NSCA); and Will Gonzalez of Ceiba, Inc. ACF’s Region III Office plans to hold similar forums in each State during 2014.
This team of seven and their respective organizations work to improve the lives of over one and half million Latino families and community members across Philadelphia. With their boots-on-the-ground experience, they suggest that the following actions could improve services to Latino communities at every level of government. While some of these recommendations fall outside of ACF’s purview, it is helpful to consider these recommendations in our ongoing work to promote resilient, safe, healthy, and economically secure families and communities.
Community Leaders’ Recommendations
- Create a chart that identifies which programs require a particular immigration status and which documents are needed as proof of status (e.g., consulate ID vs passport);
- Identify policy documents that specify which documents are accepted as proof of income. For example, a tax return should be accepted as proof of income over a letter from an employer, which can be difficult to obtain;
- Provide demographic data on who is receiving funds for all of ACF programs including sub-funding by States;
- Promote consistent rules across health and social service authorities at the State level so that service providers do not have to contend with conflicting rules from different funding sectors
- Analyze data on Latino families’ use of social service programs based on ethnicity and economic status;
- Increase access to public health and social service programs for people with Limited English Proficiency and decrease wait times when using telephonic interpretation.
Key ACF Resources
This forum also gave Region III’s senior leadership team an opportunity to share key ACF resources that are specifically geared towards serving Latino communities better. Juanita DeVine, Regional Program Manager (RPM) for the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE); Eileen Friedman, RPM for the Office of Family Assistance (OFA); Sonia Haynes, Program Specialist (on behalf of Beverly Wellons, RPM) for the Office of Child Care; Darlene Tart, Special Initiatives Coordinator and Essey Workie, Regional Administrator collectively highlighted the following ACF tools and resource:
- Infόrmate, ACF’s electronic updates for and about the Latino community.
- Center for Research on Hispanic Children and Families and ACF’s commitment to conducting research and communicating findings in three priority areas—poverty reduction and self-sufficiency; healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood; and early care and education in Latino communities.
- ACF’s 2014 Strategic Plan which outlines three priority objectives in relation to the Latino community .
- Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships’ (EHS-CCP) goal of expanding high quality early learning to over 100,000 infants and toddlers through states and communities.
- The President’s new initiative, My Brother’s Keeper, which aims to build ladders of opportunity and unlock the full potential of boys and young men of color. The initiative also features an interagency taskforce and at least $200 million in foundation dollars over the next five years.
- Increased outreach to Latino community leaders who can refer families who are in need and potentially eligible for public benefit programs like TANF.
- The Spanish Child Support Handbook which serves as a guide for families who want to learn the basic steps of establishing paternity, obtaining a support order, and collecting the support due.
- The Hispanic Outreach Toolkit which includes free outreach materials to inform parents about child support services.
- Various outreach materials including an OCSE Fact Sheet and a brochure titled Why a Child Needs Both Parents.
Child Support and TANF Contacts
The RPMs for OCSE and OFA also provided contact information for their respective programs at the city and State levels as follows:
Child Support Enforcement
Address: Philadelphia Domestic Relations Division
Customer Service Center
34 South 11 Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Dionisio Mignacca, Executive Director
PA Department of Welfare
Philadelphia County Assistance Office, 5th Floor
801 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Telephone: (215) 560-2901
Child Support Enforcement
Pennsylvania Bureau of Child Support Enforcement
Child Support Program
Bureau of Child Support Enforcement
Department of Public Welfare
PO Box 8018
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17105-8018
Tamila Lay, Division Director
Bureau of Policy/Division of Employment and Training
Office of Income Maintenance
PA Department of Public Welfare
Health and Welfare Building
P.O. Box 2675
Telephone: (717) 787-8613