Group Launches Bold Hispanic Initiative
Washington, DC (March 11, 2009) – A coalition of Hispanic leaders today launched the National Alliance for Hispanic Families, a bold and innovative initiative aimed at harnessing public and private resources to strengthen Hispanic families throughout the United States.
The new organization plans to promote comprehensive program services, relevant research, and strategic public policy decisions that promote and strengthen Hispanic families. Leaders of the Alliance believe that current social service programs often focus too narrowly on individuals alone, rather than within the context of their families. The group’s goal is to create a long-term strategy that works with and through families and provides an environment in which children and youth flourish.
The Alliance’s efforts are consistent with themes President Barack Obama plans to address, including responsible fatherhood, enhancing the role of parents in the family and reducing teenage pregnancy. Tuesday Obama told members of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce the high-school drop-out rate among Latinos is unacceptable and called for individuals from all backgrounds to come together to solve this “epidemic.”
For Hispanics, the drop-out rate is one of several challenges. Studies show that in 2007, nearly 30 percent of all Hispanic children lived in poverty, and an increasing number of babies were born out of wedlock to Hispanic teenage mothers.
“We want to bring the issues facing Hispanic families to the forefront while promoting comprehensive social service strategies that leverage the community’s greatest asset – the family,” says Dr. Blanca Enriquez, a leader in Head Start programming and member of the NAHF executive committee.
The framework of the Alliance was formed during a meeting last November where leaders from across the country discussed the need for a national plan to expand the work of the Hispanic Healthy Marriage Initiative currently funded by the department of Health and Human Services. Members of the group’s executive steering committee include Frank Fuentes, HHS; Dr. Blanca Enriquez, El Paso Head Start; Jose Villalobos, TELACU; Dr. Alicia La Hoz, Chicago Family Bridges Project; and Lisa Treviño Cummins of Urban Strategies.
“As the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, our country’s prosperity is intricately linked to the Hispanic community ,” said TELACU’s Villalobos. “And success within the Hispanic community is directly tied to the strength of their families.”
In June, the organization’s founders will host a national leaders forum in Washington, D.C. to further develop the Alliance’s long-term strategy to build on the Hispanic communities’ assets to serve families in need.