Panel Paper: Immigrant Access to Health and Human Services: Major Barriers and Promising Practices

Saturday, November 10, 2012 : 1:45 PM
Schaefer (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Krista Perreira1, Hirokazu Yoshikawa2, Karina Fortuny3, Robert Crosnoe4, Juan Pedroza3, Kelly Purtell5, Kjersti Ulvestad6, Christina Weiland7 and Heather Koball8, (1)University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, (2)New York University, (3)The Urban Institute, (4)University of Texas, Austin, (5)University of Texas, (6)Harvard Graduate School of Education, (7)Harvard University, (8)Urban Institute

The Immigrant Access to Health and Human Servicesproject maps and describes the legal and policy contexts that govern and affect immigrant access to health and human services, and can affect the well-being of immigrants and their children. Through in-depth visits to four purposively selected states with contrasting policy environments and synthesis of policy documents, the study aims to identify and describe federal, state, and local program eligibility provisions related to immigrants, major barriers (such as language and family structure) to immigrants’ access to health and human services, and innovative or promising practices that can facilitate access to health and human services for families and help states manage their programs.

We will present findings based on data collected from site visits to the four states from 120 programmatic and content area experts, state and local program administrators, and community-based service providers. We will discuss barriers that immigrants face applying for and enrolling in public benefit programs related to the complexity of the application and renewal process, documentation requirements, and eligibility rules; literacy, language, and cultural sensitivity barriers; transportation and other logistical barriers; and climates of misinformation, mistrust, and fear. We will present findings on practices of state and local government as well as community-based organizations that aim to address these specific barriers. The discussion will also highlight variations across the states in barriers and practices.

Full Paper: