Online Program

Barriers, Challenges and Opportunities for Social Services in a New Immigrant Settlement City

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Nalini Negi, Ph.D., School of Social Work, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD
Marci Goodman, MSW Candidate, School of Social Work, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Baltimore, MD
Erin Maskell, MSW Candidate, School of Social Work, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Baltimore, MD
Jamie Roberts, MSW, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore
Katelyn Victor, BA, MBA/MSW Candidate, School of Social Work and Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, Baltimore
Nationally, a new trend in migration includes the settlement of Latino migrants in cities without an established community of Latinos, such as Baltimore. Latinos are the fastest rising ethnic group in Baltimore with census data indicating a doubling of the population from 11,061 in 2000 to 25,960 in 2011. While social service delivery is highly critical in the maintenance of the health of vulnerable populations, little is known about the context of social services in new settlement immigrant destinations.

Purposive theoretical sampling was utilized to recruit social service providers who work with Latino immigrant clients. In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with 26 social service providers.  

Findings reveal that limited number of Spanish speaking providers coupled with a rising Latino immigrant population may be exacerbating health disparities among Latinos in Baltimore. Further barriers include: limited resources such as childcare, transportation, and lack of programs in Spanish as well as mental health stigma.

Baltimore is at a crucial moment in which identifying how to reach its vulnerable, hard to reach immigrant residents is a central challenge for public health workers. Discussion will include strategies to assist social service providers best meet their Latino immigrant clients’ needs within a new immigrant settlement context. Implications suggest that Schools of Social Work and Public Health in these cities must make concerted efforts to recruit and retain Spanish speaking students. Further training and retention of Spanish speaking providers is also urgently needed to facilitate the health of Latino immigrants in new immigrant settlement destinations.

Learning Areas:

Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify at least 2 barriers that prevent Latino immigrants from accessing services in Baltimore.

Keyword(s): Access Immigration, Social Services

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator of studies focused on health of Latino immigrants, including one funded recently by the NIDA.Among my scientific interests is to improve service access for hard to reach populations such as undocumented immigrants.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.