Families living in urban poverty face disproportionate risk of exposure to trauma and they are less likely to have access to the resources that help resolve traumatic experiences. According to national data, 71 percent of children report exposure to one or more potentially traumatic events by the age of 17. Further complicating the issue, for many of these families, getting access to bilingual health services can be incredibly challenging.
Starting this summer, children and families in the Parkville and Frog Hollow neighborhoods of Hartford will have access to bilingual, bicultural behavioral health outpatient services thank to a three-year, $245,000 grant to Community Health Resources (CHR) from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. The program will offer a wide variety of behavioral health services to Spanish speaking children and families with a specific focus on trauma.
In Hartford, nearly one in five residents live in homes where English is not the primary language spoken. Language is not the only potential barrier to providing appropriate mental services. Different cultures have different attitudes toward issues of mental health and mental illness which can create obstacles for families who could benefit from behavioral health services.
The goal of Community Health Resources’ Hartford Latino Child and Family Services program is to address the disparities related to behavioral health by supporting bilingual and bicultural services for youth and families. This project will be located at 30 Arbor Street in Hartford, the same building that houses Family Life Education, an organization that provides family services to the Spanish-speaking community in Parkville. CHR will be working collaboratively with Family Life Education, as well as Saint Joseph University’s Masters of Social Work (MSW) program which will provide internships and work opportunities for students to learn clinical practice in community-based settings.
“CHR is grateful for the support of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and excited for the opportunity to partner with Family Life Education on this new program,” said Heather Gates, President and CEO of CHR. “We feel the level of need in Hartford for this type of service is very compelling and that our experience providing high quality behavioral health services will make CHR a welcome addition to this part of the Hartford community.”
CHR’s vision for this project is the creation of a high quality, culturally competent, family oriented, behavioral health outpatient program for Spanish speaking youth and families living in Hartford’s Frog Hollow and Parkville neighborhoods. Working closely with Family Life Education, CHR’s goal is to address the health disparities related to behavioral health by providing bilingual and bicultural services for youth and families at an easily accessible location in their community.
“The approval of this grant to Community Health Resources means our community will benefit from culturally sensitive, Spanish language mental health services at a time when economic pressures are creating more and more strains on families, resulting in greater risk for child abuse/neglect, domestic violence, substance abuse and depression,” said Candida Flores, CEO of Family Life Education. “Many Latinos make the sacrifice of leaving everything behind to come to the U.S. to provide their children with a better life. With this new resource available, there is a greater likelihood of their achieving that dream. Family Life Education is proud to have the opportunity to work with CHR on this new endeavor—and to have CHR as a neighbor here in Parkville.”
CHR’s focus will be on providing trauma focused treatment and intervention to help youth and families improve behavior, problems, and school functioning. The program will also assist parents and caregivers with the skills and support necessary to successfully raise their children.
“Community Health Resources commitment to make this project 100 percent bilingual and bicultural, and embedding it in the heart of a predominantly Latino neighborhood, ensures that kids who will or have experienced trauma get quality clinical services in their own neighborhood and that language will not be a barrier to care,” said Hartford Foundation program officer Yvette Bello. “This collaborative project deploys the strengths of each community organization to serve the needs of this community including CHR’s clinical expertise, Family Life Education’s cultural competence and neighborhood knowledge, and Saint Joseph University’s commitment to identifying quality clinical internships for masters of social work students.”
Community Health Resources provides more than 80 programs throughout Connecticut and has offices in Bloomfield, Enfield, Manchester and Windsor, all communities served by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, as well as child and family outpatient services in Middletown, Norwich and Mansfield.
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. In 2015, the Foundation celebrates 90 years of grantmaking in the Greater Hartford region, made possible by gifts from thousands of generous individuals, families and organizations. It has awarded grants of more than $620 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit www.hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.
Pictured: One of Family Life Education's (non-health) classes. Photo courtesy Family Life Education