April 10, 2008
Contact: Jessica Boyer (610.444.4545, ext. 21 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Jamie Arehart (267.350.7699 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

La Comunidad Hispana Promotes Safe Children and Healthy Families
LCH Recognizes April as Child Abuse Prevention Month

KENNETT SQUARE, PA -- After working for 16 years in the child welfare field, Aida Garcia knows the importance of providing culturally appropriate services to help prevent child abuse and promote healthy families within the Latino community. Garcia, the social services director at La Comunidad Hispana (LCH) in Chester County explains, “LCH has been instrumental in meeting the growing demands to provide social services to many Latino families in Southern Chester County, particularly the increasing need for bilingual, bicultural caseworkers.”

While LCH, an affiliate of Philadelphia Health Management Corporation, provides many services to Chester County Latinos, one of their main goals is to assist those families who are at risk of out-of-home placement of a child due to abuse and/or neglect issues. “Each day more and more Hispanic families are being referred [to us] for service due to alleged inappropriate discipline practice or harsh punishment being used on the children,” said Garcia.
In observing April as Child Abuse Prevention Month, LCH is showcasing its In-Home Life Skills Education Program, which is funded by a Chester County social service organization. The program provides educational guidance and information on positive parenting techniques and child development. Basic life skills are also addressed, including: budgeting, nutrition, and household management.

LCH manages the case from the initial intensive and comprehensive clinical assessment, to service planning and delivery. LCH case workers conduct regular, weekly in-home visits with families and provide in-home life skills training. The goal is to protect children living in their homes from child abuse and neglect, to ensure their safety and to maintain and strengthen their family life. Twenty-two (22) families received services through this program last year.
In terms of prevention, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 2006, 50.7 children per 1,000 children received preventive services. This results in a national estimate of approximately 3.8 million children. This is a hearty increase from 2005, which estimated that 25.7 children per 1,000 children--approximately 2 million children--received preventive services. This increase in preventative services is partly due to improved data collection, but also because of the successes of community-based organizations like LCH.

Since the government passed the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) in 1974, child abuse and neglect has continued to grow at an alarming rate. In an attempt to further educate the public, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives proclaimed April 1983 as the first National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Since then, child abuse and neglect awareness activities have been promoted across the country every April.
Garcia hopes to continue to spread the word about this issue within the Latino community beyond Child Abuse Awareness Month. “Families that come to this country are learning that their children have rights. Some Hispanic parents do not understand Child Welfare laws and when the child welfare office finds out that children are left alone due to parents’ long working hours, they are confronted with the law and a case is opened.”

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About La Comunidad Hispana
La Comunidad Hispana (LCH) is a community-oriented nonprofit organization that provides services to the Latino community and other vulnerable residents in Chester County. Its mission is to improve the quality of life, health and well being of low-income Latinos and other under-served groups through advocacy and bilingual programs in health care, education, and social services. LCH is a culturally competent, bilingual, bicultural agency that reflects the community served. Established in 1973, LCH became an affiliate of the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation in 2004.

LCH is located at 314-316 E. State Street, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

For more information on LCH and its programs, please visit or call 610.444.4545.