Abstract: Latinx Adolescents in New-Latinx Destinations: What Social Service Providers Need to Know (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

85P Latinx Adolescents in New-Latinx Destinations: What Social Service Providers Need to Know

Thursday, January 16, 2020
Marquis BR Salon 6 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Jenn Miller Scarnato, LMSW, MA, Doctoral Candidate, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Background and Purpose: An increasing number of Latinx young people in the United States are facing unique challenges and social injustices as residents of areas in which service providers are unprepared or unequipped to meet their needs. This study examined Latinx adolescents’ perspectives on the challenges they face to attaining and maintaining well-being, and how they do well in spite of such challenges. This poster provides practical guidance for social work practice with Latinx adolescents in new-Latinx destinations.

Methods: This study draws on qualitative narrative testimonio research with Latinx adolescents in a new-Latinx destination in the U.S. South. Findings are drawn from the digital testimonios of a group of diverse Latinx young people in the same metropolitan area, who provided their perspectives through digitally-recorded testimonio interviews. Testimonios were thematically analyzed using a grounded theory approach, with research participants directly involved in the analysis process to enhance the validity and rigor of the findings.

Results: Findings reveal that Latinx young people in new-Latinx destinations face unique challenges related to cultural and linguistic differences, social marginalization and isolation, family separation, availability of and access to services, a nativist and xenophobic political climate, and invisibility within the social context. In the absence of formal support systems, Latinx young people have developed creative individual and collective strategies for coping with and overcoming their experiences, which include focusing on academic and career goals, using creative outlets of expression, seeking mentorship, and engaging in political advocacy.

Conclusions and Implications: Findings are applied to social work practice, with recommendations for interventions and approaches that might prevent and ameliorate the challenges Latinx adolescents in new-Latinx destinations face. Implications of this study point to policy recommendations and anti-oppressive, trauma-informed approaches to practice with Latinx adolescents to enhance their ability to thrive.