Immigrant families and the organizations that work with them experience circumstances and challenges related to their cultural background and personal and social resources that can only be captured through a culturally responsive evaluation. Using interviews with Hispanic participants and collaboratives, we sought to identify the ways in which collaboratives implemented the Whole Family Approach within the context of these families’ lives to help them work towards their goals. We found that collaboratives and Hispanic families faced challenges stemming from their past disadvantages and inherent to their new environment, often aggravated by the pandemic. However, we also found that the ability to rely on each other, as families and communities, bolstered a sense of resilience and support that carried many forward, as well as a desire for autonomy and, in some cases, community engagement. These findings highlight the importance of a family-centered intervention that can be adapted to meet clients where they are and help them get where they want to be. The flexibility of the Whole Family Approach allows collaboratives to facilitate structuring families’ goals while empowering them to decide their own paths.
Hispanic families in Southern New Jersey face many barriers in their community across financial stability, healthcare access, living situation, access to education, child-well being, and family well-being. Due to differences in cultural background and pre-existing barriers in their physical environment, these challenges may manifest regardless of families’ legal status in the United States. Organizations like Families in Motion, Unidos para la Familia, Families to College, and Stronger Families have provided critical support to these families by offering targeted programming, navigating gaps in the system, and guiding them through opportunities to achieve their goals. Although there are many systematic barriers that continue to impact the well-being of Hispanic families, many expressed gratitude towards collaborative staff for serving as language and cultural interpreters navigating the school system, community resources, and advocating for their rights.