Spotlight on the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families: Building and Translating Evidence on Hispanic Children and Families in the United States

September 17, 2021
| Jenessa Malin and Ann Rivera
Hispanic Heritage Month blog header

OPRE research aims to inform ACF programs in their efforts to serve children and families, and a substantial share of ACF program participants are Hispanic or Latino. Several OPRE projects shed light on the diverse needs and experiences of Hispanic children and families throughout the US, with the intent of supporting more effective and tailored services. This Hispanic Heritage Month, as we recognize and celebrate the important contributions of Hispanic families to our country, we are spotlighting the work of our grantee, the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families Visit disclaimer page (the Center).

The Center, led by Child Trends in partnership with Duke University, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and University of Maryland, College Park, investigates the needs of Hispanic populations served by ACF and promising approaches to promote social and economic well-being among low-income Hispanic families. The Center has three primary goals: 1) advance a cutting-edge research agenda, 2) build research capacity, and 3) translate emerging research concerning low-income Hispanic children and families in the United States.

Over the last 18 months, we have witnessed the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on some racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S., including Hispanic communities Visit disclaimer page . Hispanic individuals are at a higher risk for infection, hospitalization, and death Visit disclaimer page from COVID-19 than their White, non-Hispanic counterparts. They are also more likely to have experienced economic impacts such as job (PDF) Visit disclaimer page or income Visit disclaimer page loss. This has been a reminder of the critical importance for federal agencies and our research partners to better understand disparities in health, economic opportunities, and social services (PDF) Visit disclaimer page and to examine the role that policies and practices play in contributing to inequities in service access, utilization, and outcomes. To this end, the Center has sought to produce new information about the COVID-19-related experiences of ACF programs and the Hispanic families they serve. This work has included:

  • A series of data snapshots documenting how Hispanic children, families, and households are faring during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery. Drawing from the latest publicly available data sources, each data snapshot examines a separate domain of child and family well-being and provides a brief overview of social and policy context relevant to the findings. Data snapshots have focused on child poverty Visit disclaimer page , housing insecurity Visit disclaimer page , food insufficiency Visit disclaimer page , and hardships Visit disclaimer page  experienced by Hispanic households with children during the pandemic;
  • A webinar Visit disclaimer page examining how organizations serving low-income Hispanic families through parent and child education programs, relationship education, mental health services, and other family supports have adapted their service delivery in the wake of COVID-19 to reach clients and maintain engagement in programs and services. From the webinar, the Center synthesized key principles Visit disclaimer page for adapting services to meet the emergent needs of Hispanic families;
  • A data point Visit disclaimer page examining how limited access to banks may complicate access to COVID-19 relief funds for many low-income Hispanic households; and
  • A webinar Visit disclaimer page highlighting research on how Hispanic families have coped during the COVID-19 pandemic and how programs can build on strengths to better support Hispanic families.  

On October 13, the Center will hold a webinar focused on child care-related work disruptions among Hispanic parents in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more and register, visit Hispanic Families' Experiences of Child Care Closures During COVID-19 Visit disclaimer page .

The Center’s work focused on the COVID-19 pandemic reflects only a small portion of their recent contributions. Over the past year, the Center has released numerous publications, including:

  • A brief Visit disclaimer page describing the couple and coparenting relationships, parenting, and economic self-sufficiency of low-income Hispanic mothers and fathers;
  • A brief Visit disclaimer page examining disruptions to child care arrangements and work schedules for low-income Hispanic families;
  • A resource guide Visit disclaimer page highlighting tips and resources for early career social scientists; and
  • A brief Visit disclaimer page describing state-level policies and administrative practices for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program that may influence access and utilization.

Over the course of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Center will release numerous products including:

  • A brief that draws from a recent survey of TANF program practitioners in New Mexico to describe how state and local TANF agencies engage with Hispanic families who apply for TANF cash assistance;
  • A series of data points highlighting the diversity of the Latino child population; and
  • A brief analyzing data from the Supporting Healthy Marriage evaluation exploring relationship quality and parenting practices among Latino parents with low incomes.

We encourage you to explore the Center’s website Visit disclaimer page to learn more about their work to better understand, learn from, and serve the highly diverse group of children and families that we celebrate during Hispanic Heritage Month.


Ann Rivera is a Senior Social Science Research Analyst whose portfolio focuses broadly on increasing access to high-quality early care and education and improving human services for low-income and vulnerable children and families. In addition, Ann works on a variety of internal projects intended to communicate and bridge research to practice more effectively and to promote cultural and linguistic responsiveness in ACF services. 

Jenessa Malin is a Senior Social Science Research Analyst whose portfolio includes research and evaluation projects related to child welfare and early care and education programs. She is particularly interested in the application of innovative methods and study designs to examine policy relevant research questions.

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