Making Mental Health Services Work for Latino Youth

Bringing mental and behavioral health programs into schools increases early access to interventions, reduces the stigma around mental health issues, and normalizes the need for a healthy, supportive environment in schools. These were some of the issues addressed during last week’s Facebook Live event in celebration of National School Counselor Week, where NCLR’s Deputy Research Director Patricia Foxen was joined by Lourdes Rubio, Licensed Professional School Counselor for Arlington Schools, and Marisa Parrella, Senior Clinical Manager at Mary’s Center, for a discussion on school-based mental health programs for Latino students.

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Making Data Work for Us

New report and web tool uses nationwide data to track the state of Latino youth

By John Marth, Senior Content Specialist, NCLR


From left: Maria Gomez, Mary’s Center; Lori Kaplan, Latin American Youth Center; Patricia Foxen, NCLR; Samantha Vargas Poppe, NCLR; Myrna Peralta, CentroNía

Our Affiliates are based in the communities that need them the most: where families struggle for a chance to succeed. Facing poverty and other barriers head-on, NCLR Affiliates see a side of America that’s sometimes invisible to politicians. People working on large-scale issues need numbers to justify their decisions, which can run at odds with the on-the-ground people hoping to improve their communities.

As head of the Latin American Youth Center in DC, Lori Kaplan runs into this issue constantly: “When people don’t want to do something, they hide behind data. They say ‘show me the data.’” But smaller operations usually don’t have the resources to gather data to prove that what they know to be true through experience.

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NCLR Affiliates Feeling Pain of Government Shutdown

MarysCenter_LogoFor those who doubt the human toll of sequestration and now, the government shutdown, yesterday the Washington Post spelled it out in unmistakable terms.  An article about the impact of the shutdown yesterday featured two outstanding NCLR Affiliates, Mary’s Center and the Latin American Youth Center, whose ability to serve children and families in the nation’s capital is in jeopardy until Congress breaks its stalemate over the federal budget.

From The Washington Post:

The Latin American Youth Center announced this week that it has furloughed more than half of its staff and reduced its programming to essential services. The furloughed staff, which includes senior leaders, will continue to work as volunteers until the shutdown ends and funding resumes.

“I’m so depressed. It’s so sad,” said Lori Kaplan, president of the youth center. “The center means so much to so many people, and this is hard on a lot of people.”

The Columbia Heights nonprofit group, which offers youth development services to 5,000 children each year, will stop some programs that promote job training and education. The group is also in the process of piloting a program that offers mentors available round-the-clock for troubled youth. Kaplan said the mentors will now work part time. Services to homeless and foster-care youth will remain in operation.

Mary’s Center, a federally funded health facility, is struggling to make its October payroll and to continue serving more than 30,000 patients, according to a statement.

The D.C.-based charity was scheduled to receive nearly $600,000 from the District Health Department on Oct. 1. Those funds are on hold until the shutdown ends.

On Wednesday, Maria Gomez, chief executive of Mary’s Center, spoke at a news conference held by Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) at the Capitol to highlight the local effects of the federal shutdown. The Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington and a host of charities are lobbying on Capitol Hill this week, urging Congress to come to a budget solution.

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