GRAND Magazine - Spring 2022 - 31

grandfamilies
Helping Latino grandfamilies
BY JAIA LENT
R
aising six grandchildren after age 60 was not in Mercedes' life plan, but when
she learned her grandchildren were going to be taken into foster care, there
was no question in her mind that they needed to come and live with her. As a
Latina and as a grandparent, Mercedes' commitment to caring for family is as central
to her as the air she breathes.
"
31 GRAND Winter 2022
Through the cultural value of interdependence,
Latino families maintain life-long connections,
assistance, and support.
Kinship care is a familiar practice in Latino families like Mercedes'.
Latinos have a long history of helping raise
children in need of temporary or permanent
families and exhibit a willingness to
assist other families based on a strong
value of community and an emphasis on
family. The Latino concept of " familismo " /
familism extends beyond blood relatives and
includes friends, neighbors, and compadres/
comadres (godparents). Through the cultural
value of interdependence, Latino families
maintain life-long connections, assistance,
and support.
Displaying this value Mercedes fought for
her family. She hired a lawyer and successfully
advocated to have the children come
"
live with her. She completed more than 60 hours of training courses, and multiple
home inspections, and became licensed as a kinship foster parent. After thousands
of dollars in legal costs and a painful period of separation from the children,
Mercedes is happy to have her grandchildren with her now. Yet things have
not been easy. The grandchildren suffer from ADHD and PTSD which affect their
behavior. They require medication to treat these conditions as well as mental
health and other supports to manage their behavior and help them heal. Getting
access to culturally appropriate services for families like hers is a challenge.
Both outside and inside the child welfare system, the likelihood that Latino children
will live in kinship families is significant. While Latino children are not overrepresented
nationally in the child welfare system, they are overrepresented in
many communities, often due to a range of factors
that include poverty and discrimination.
"
Over the years, Latino immigrant
families have been criminalized and
deported at higher rates than other
immigrant groups.
"
The number of Latino families in the United States
is growing. During the past several decades, political
unrest, economic conditions, U.S. intervention,
wars, environmental disasters, and violence in Latin
American countries have propelled millions of individuals
to seek a more secure life for themselves
Continued on next page
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GRAND Magazine - Spring 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - Spring 2022

Contents
GRAND Magazine - Spring 2022 - Cover1
GRAND Magazine - Spring 2022 - 2
GRAND Magazine - Spring 2022 - 3
GRAND Magazine - Spring 2022 - Contents
GRAND Magazine - Spring 2022 - 5
GRAND Magazine - Spring 2022 - 6
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