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2002 Jordan Institute
for Families

Vol. 7, No. 3
June 2002

Tips for Agencies Serving Latinos


Recruit Bicultural Employees

Bicultural employees may be able to meet the needs of Latino clients better than someone who can just speak the language. To find prospective bicultural employees, contact universities in other parts of the U.S. that have large Latino populations (e.g., Florida, Texas, California, New York), as well as universities in Puerto Rico and Central and South America.


Collaborate with Others to Develop Community Resources

Agencies should consider pooling their resources and sharing strategies for reaching out to Latinos. Some, such as the health department, may have more experience and therefore more information to share about what works and what doesn’t. Also, consider reaching out to groups and organizations important to the Latino community, especially the Catholic Church. Set up a task force in your community. Apply for grants to fund programs.


Educate Employees

Misunderstandings, prejudice, and resentment are common results of increased contact with unfamiliar cultural groups. Every employee from every part of the agency will benefit from cultural competency training and frank discussions of the challenges and rewards of serving a new client population.


Open Your Agency Up to Latinos

To support Latinos, agencies must welcome and accommodate them by providing interpreters, signs and forms in Spanish, and employees who understand and are sensitive to Latino culture. Agencies should also reach out to Hispanics and educate them about the agency and the services available to them. Developing a positive relationship with the broader Spanish-speaking community can make it easier to recruit Latino foster and adoptive parents and may even improve an agency’s overall ability to respond to—and prevent—child maltreatment.