PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 29, 2013 — State Sen. Anthony H. Williams continued his efforts to help grandparents and other relatives struggling to raise younger relatives with his latest kinship care workshop, offered this time completely in Spanish.
Recognizing that language barriers can compound the frustrations and concerns for those seeking meaningful legal and behavioral information for the care of loved ones, Williams hosted the event last Saturday at El Concilio, one of Philadelphia’s oldest Latino social service agencies.
With a growing constituency whose first language is Spanish, Williams said this free event was needed and necessary.
“There are many non-parental and non-biological caregivers in our community needing help,” he told the audience during the event’s kickoff. “It is imperative that you know that you are not alone.
“The successful development and growth of the community-at-large takes participation to effectively bridge the ever increasing gap between the constituents and the services offered to them,” he said.
The senator’s remarks were translated by Concilio Executive Director Joanna Otero-Cruz.
For nearly a decade, Williams has developed initiatives to aid intergenerational families, many of whom live at or below the federal poverty level, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In parts of Philadelphia, 1-in-5 children aged 17 and younger are raised by a grandparent. About 1-in-5 grandparents who serve as a primary caregiver live in poverty, according to the Census.
Williams has helped to present conferences and workshops to address the often overlooked needs of those coping to raise children, sometimes without additional funds and many times amid a tangle of legal and social hoops.
Saturday’s presentations by an array of experts focused on guidance and information pertaining to services, rights and responsibilities that support kinship caregivers.
Among the day’s featured panelists were Cesar A. Galvis, CEO of Tree of Life’s mental health clinic; Ismael Alvarez of the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center; and Tighe Burns of Philadelphia Legal Assistance.
Iris Violeta Colón-Torres, a well known poet, writer and media personality, moderated the discussion.
Given the increasing recognition of the issues facing Latino caregivers, Otero-Cruz commended the effort.
“For these families, continued outreach is a necessity to community enrichment,” the Concilio executive director said.
Sen. Williams encouraged attendees to participate in these free community events and to take advantage of the resources and support guides available to them. Future workshops for kinship caregivers are being planned.
For more information, contact Williams’ office at (215) 492-2980 or visit www.senatoranthonyhwilliams.com.