Hispanic immigrant children focus of Penn State family symposium

University Park, Pa. — "Development of Hispanic Children in Immigrant Families: Challenges and Prospects" is the topic of Penn State's 16th annual Symposium on Family Issues, to be held Oct. 23-24, on the University Park campus. Sixteen scholars from major institutions will integrate perspectives from multiple social sciences and address policy implications.
One in five children in the United States has immigrant parents, and children of immigrant parents are the fastest growing component of the child population. Given the different circumstances and experiences of immigrant populations, the symposium's focus is on Hispanic families. They are themselves a diverse group and constitute the largest ethnic minority group in the nation.
"A range of challenges face immigrant children and their families. Negative sentiments toward immigrant families have not been as high as they are now for nearly a century," said Nancy Landale, director of the Population Research Institute, which is coordinating the symposium. "National immigration policy appears to be in a gridlock, but local policies are rapidly changing. Immigrant destinations have expanded to include both new metropolitan locations and rural areas. These and other changes have altered the social, political and economic forces in host communities and the broader social contexts in which children develop. Thus, the study of children and youth in immigrant families is timely and important."
The purpose of the 2008 Family Symposium will be to examine four arenas of research and policy that are significant in the development and well-being of children and youth in immigrant Hispanic families:
(1) the social ecologies of children and youth in immigrant families, including the range of setting characteristics and the ways in which setting characteristics have implications for child and youth well-being and development;
(2) the role of families in children's successful adaptation to new "host" environments;
(3) the implications of the school and community contexts as well as education policies for children's school experiences and academic achievement; and
(4) the roles of health care, social service provision, and health policies in children's health and well-being.
Lead speakers include Richard Alba, SUNY Albany; Kimberly Updegraff, Arizona State University; Carola Suarez-Orozco, New York University; and Margarita Alegria, Harvard Medical School.
Discussants include Randolph Capps, Urban Institute; Stephen J. Trejo, University of Texas, Austin; Stephen M. Quintana, University of Wisconsin; Jennifer Van Hook, Penn State; Rosalie Corona, Virginia Commonwealth; Donald Hernandez, SUNY Albany; Katharine Donato, Vanderbilt University; Suet-ling Pong, Penn State; Andrew Fuligni, UCLA; Deborah Graefe, Penn State; Robert E. Roberts, University of Texas; and Cheryl Boyce, National Institutes of Health.
Symposium sponsors include the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Information and registration are online at, or e-mail Carolyn Scott at

Last Updated July 28, 2017