AMCHP and National Center for Ease of Use of Community-Based Services Support Focus on Latino Families With CYSHCN

By Myra Rosen-Reynoso, PhD
Research Associate, Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts Boston

AMCHP and the National Center for Ease of Use of Community-Based Services are partnering to sponsor an action learning collaborative (ALC) focused on addressing state policies and practices that enable ease of use of services for Latino families with CYSHCN. In April 2012, the following four states were selected to participate: Indiana, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Rhode Island. In addition, North Carolina and Oregon were chosen as lead mentoring states. This ALC program links states with two lead states and provides a tailored technical assistance model around the MCHB Indicator Five for Ease of Use of Community-Based Services for Latino Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs. The Title V program in each of these states has been working on a specific project with a variety of partners, such as Family-to Family Health Information Centers, the American Academy of Pediatrics, LEND programs, local school districts, Medicaid, Head Start and Latino community-based organizations.

The following is a brief overview of each state project:

Indiana has brought together a team, including representatives from numerous Latino community-based organizations and state commissions, to develop and implement a strategic plan for addressing ease of use of CYSHCN.

New Hampshire has been working on a health literacy campaign to identify messages and information related to the upcoming mandated changes to New Hampshire Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program that need to be effectively communicated to Latino families with CYSHCN.

New Mexico has been focusing on making services easier to use for Latino children and youth with diabetes and metabolic disorders.

Rhode Island has been working with public school personnel to refer Latino families with CYSHCN to parent leaders with the Latino community and has been training parent leaders to serve as peer navigators.

This month, all of the participating states met in Raleigh, North Carolina with the North Carolina Title V director and staff to learn from one another about building systems of care for Latino CYSHCN, share lessons learned and best practices, and develop action plans. In addition, there were presentations from families, parent leaders and professionals working with Latino families in North Carolina. These presenters included:

Melissa Bailey, Executive Director, North Carolina Field, who shared success stories and challenges in trying to connect farmworker families/children to services.

Mariela Maldonado, Hispanic Affairs Liaison, NC Autism Society, who led a discussion on how the Autism Society has been able to create five support groups across metro areas in the state for Latino families with autistic children.

Debbie Biggerstaff, Innovative Approaches Coordinator, Carbarrus County Health Alliance, who shared findings from the Innovative Approaches focus groups with Latino families to improve services for Latino families throughout North Carolina.

Norma Martí, Public Health Minority Outreach Consultant, North Carolin Division of Public Health, who provided extensive information about the systems of care for Latino CYSHCN in North Carolina and local parent Promotora programs.

Key themes that emerged throughout the meeting included: challenges in interpretation and translation for Latino families, renewed commitment to developing partnerships including those external to the MCH programs, embedding family involvement and promoting family leadership in programming, rigorous evaluation and sustainability. Some resources from this meeting are available on the center website at:

On Feb. 9, at the 2013 AMCHP Annual Conference, there will be a pre-conference skills-building session that will include several of the participating ALC states with presenters discussing the importance of partnership and peer learning for improving the ease of use of services for Latino families who have CYSHCN, lessons learned, and how their projects can be implemented in other states.

This ALC is supported by Grant No. U42MC18283 from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Services for Children With Special Needs.