Family and Community Contexts Shaping Children of Immigrants’ Development
(Population and Migration Issues)
Saturday, November 14, 2015: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Stanford (Hyatt Regency Miami)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Panel Organizers: Julia Gelatt, Urban Institute
Panel Chairs: Marci Ybarra, University of Chicago
Discussants: Jennifer Van Hook, Pennsylvania State University
Children’s social and cognitive development is strongly shaped by a host of family and community influences. In immigrant and Latino families, which both form large and growing shares of all US families with children, these family and community contexts are shaped by the intersection of immigration policy, public safety net policies, and programs and policies related to healthy parenting and father involvement. This panel focuses on the relationships between policy contexts, family and community contexts, family processes, and children’s health and development in Latino and immigrant families. We focus particularly on three important inputs to the well-being of children of Latinos and immigrants: immigration enforcement, food security, and parenting practices. Together, these papers highlight several areas for policy intervention to support the healthy development of all children in the United States.
Specifically, we examine how food insecurity—which is particularly prevalent among certain immigrant groups—shapes young children’s physical health and their social and cognitive development, and whether the relationship between food insecurity and child development is different for children of immigrants than for other children. We look at how family circumstances of income, material hardship, neighborhood conditions, social connections, and parental mental health shape the parenting practices of immigrant parents of young children from diverse world origins, with strong implications for children’s development. And we explore whether knowing someone who has been deported affects the mental health of Latino children, and whether knowing more deportees, or having closer connections to people who were deported, affects children more strongly.
The panel draws on high-quality, nationally-representative, longitudinal data with a large, diverse sample of immigrant parents, in the form of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey, Birth Cohort (ECLS-B), and on a large, original, nationally representative survey of Latinos. Together, these papers highlight strengths that children in immigrant and Latino families carry through childhood as well as areas of particular challenge where policy intervention could better support children’s social and cognitive development. We highlight, in particular, areas for intervention to support immigrant families’ food security and other material well-being, to foster parenting practices that support children’s social and cognitive growth, and to address immigration policies that have implications for children in Latino families, regardless of immigration status.