SAFY Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month
Did you know that National Hispanic Heritage Month kicked off September 15 and runs through October 15? According to the Hispanic Heritage Month website, the initiative dates back to 1968, when U.S. President Lyndon Johnson announced Hispanic Heritage Week. President Ronald Reagan extended it to a month-long celebration in 1988.
The 30-day period is historically significant because it encompasses the anniversaries of independence for many countries! Five Latin American countries date their independence to September 15, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico celebrates its independence on September 16, while Chile’s independence is honored on September 18.
As foster parents, teachers, mentors, child welfare advocates and caregivers, what does this mean to you? It offers a great opportunity to celebrate the cultural contributions, accomplishments, history and heritage of Latino and Hispanic Americans, while also highlighting the need for Hispanic and Latino foster parents.
Highlighting the need for Hispanic and Latino foster parents
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that Hispanic or Latino Americans make up 18.5% of the national population. Information published in Numbers and Trends | May 2020, by the Child Welfare Information Gateway, notes that of the estimated 437,283 children in foster care, 21% are Hispanic.
The National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families notes that “about one quarter — 25 to 28 percent — of all Latino children in the United States have an unauthorized immigrant parent.” This stress, along with cultural and language barriers that some families may face, further challenge children who enter foster care.
That’s when social workers can become an invaluable resource. In fact, “Social Workers and Latino Clients: Building a Bridge of Cultural Understanding,” an article published on MSWCareers.org, offers these tips when serving Latino and Hispanic families:
- Respect the importance of family closeness and connection.
- Understand that familial connections extend to family friends and all play critical roles in family decision making.
- Cultural awareness is crucial to avoid stereotypes or insensitivity.
- Learn the language, history and family dynamics of the Hispanic and Latino communities you serve.
Recruiting Hispanic and Latino foster parents
The North American Council on Adoptable Children reminds us Latino and Hispanic families maintain roots in more than 21 counties, each with unique customs and trends. More importantly, however, is the strong foundation of family, children, spirituality and respect.
Bilingual staff and foster parents can bridge the gap among birth families and help families navigate the court and social service systems.
The United States honors the cultural contributions, accomplishments, history and heritage of Latino and Hispanic Americans. For a list of exhibits, collections and 2020 event highlights, or for activities to do with your children, visit hispanicheritagemonth.gov.
SAFY encourages anyone interested in becoming a foster parent to visit our website at safy.org and take our 30-second assessment to see if fostering is right for you.