One in five children in the U.S. has immigrant parents, and children of immigrant parents are the fastest growing component of the child population. Given the different circumstances and experiences of immigrant populations, our symposium's focus is on Hispanic families. They are themselves a diverse group, and constitute the largest ethnic minority group in the nation.
A range of challenges face immigrant children and their families. Negative sentiments toward immigrant families have not been as high as they are now for nearly a century. National immigration policy appears to be in a gridlock, but local policies are rapidly changing. Immigrant destinations have expanded to include both new metropolitan locations and rural areas. These and other changes have altered the social, political, and economic forces in host communities and the broader social contexts in which children develop. Thus, the study of children and youth in immigrant families is timely and important.
The purpose of the 2008 Family Symposium will be to examine four arenas of research and policy that are significant in the development and well-being of children and youth in immigrant Hispanic families: (1) the social ecologies of children and youth in immigrant families, including the range of setting characteristics and the ways in which setting characteristics have implications for child and youth well-being and development, (2) the role of families in children's successful adaptation to new "host" environments; (3) the implications of the school and community contexts as well as education policies for children's school experiences and academic achievement; and (4) the roles of health care, social service provision, and health policies in children's health and well-being.
The Social Contexts of Children and Youth in Hispanic Immigrant Families
The growth of immigration and the changing settlement patterns of Hispanic immigrants have given rise to wide diversity in the types of communities in which children of immigrants live. Destination communities differ in terms of population composition, economic opportunities, the receptivity of the native population, and social policies. Changing settlement patterns raise new questions about how adaptation and assimilation processes unfold for Hispanic children and their families.
Lead Speaker: Richard Alba, Department of Sociology, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Randolph Capps, Senior Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Institute
Stephen J. Trejo, Department of Economics, University of Texas Austin
Stephen M. Quintana, Departments of Counseling Psychology and Educational Psychology, University of Wisconsin
Structure and Process in Immigrant Hispanic Families and their Implications for the Development of Children and Youth
Important issues pertain to how background and structural characteristics of Hispanic families (e.g. generational status, country of origin, marital status of parents) are linked to family processes such as parents' cultural orientations, discipline styles, and involvement with their children, and how structural characteristics and family processes combine to affect the development and well-being of children and youth. Strong familism values and family ties among Hispanic families mean that it also will be important to look beyond parents to consider the role of family members such as siblings and extended kin networks in youth development. In considering families' roles in youth development, we must also consider the broader contexts within which families are embedded. Accordingly, discussion will center on public policies at the local, state, and national levels that may have implications for Hispanic youth from immigrant families.
Lead Speaker: Kimberly Updegraff, School of Social and Family Dynamics, Arizona State University
Jennifer Van Hook, Department of Sociology, Penn State University
Rosalie Corona, Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University
Donald J. Hernandez, Department of Sociology and Center for Social and Demographic Analysis, SUNY Albany
Schooling and the Development of Children and Youth in Hispanic Immigrant Families
Characteristics and practices of schools include school size, the SES and ethnic composition of the student body, teacher characteristics and training, bilingual education practices and policies, and patterns of parental involvement and school-family "fit". The larger community contexts in which schools are embedded are also important. Discussion will focus on policies and practices that have proven successful in promoting school achievement, educational aspirations, school attachment, and school completion among Hispanic children and youth in immigrant families.
Lead Speaker: Carola Suarez-Orozco, Department of Applied Psychology, New York University
Katharine Donato, Department of Sociology, Vanderbilt University
Suet-ling Pong, Departments of Education Policy Studies and Sociology, Penn State University
Andrew Fuligni, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, UCLA
Access to Health Care and Well-Being of Children and Youth from Hispanic Immigrant Families
Hispanic children are disproportionately more likely than Anglo children to experience diabetes, obesity, asthma, poor oral health, depression, and many other health problems, but patterns vary by generational status. Barriers such as language, poverty, access to health services, and lack of health insurance are major contributors to children's health problems; parents' legal status is another factor that merits consideration. Discussion will focus on the consequences of current health care and social service policies and practices for the health of children and youth in Hispanic immigrant families.
Lead Speaker: Margarita Alegria, Department of Psychiatry and Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research, Harvard Medical School
Deborah Graefe, Population Research Institute, Penn State
Robert E. Roberts, School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston
Cheryl Boyce, Division of Developmental Translational Research, National Institutes of Health
The 2008 National Symposium on Family Issues is organized by Alan Booth, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, Human Development and Demography, Nancy Landale, Professor of Sociology and Demography and Director of the Population Research Institute, and Susan M. McHale, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, and Director, Social Science Research Institute and Children, Youth and Families Consortium.
Landale, N., McHale, S., & Booth, A. (Eds.). (2010). Growing up Hispanic: Health and development of children of immigrants. Washington, D.C.: Urban