Friday, April 30, 2004

Tennessee Treasury poverty study reveals Hispanic services statistics, recommends State-level immigrant outreach office

"Although the percentage of Tennessee residents born outside the United States is small compared to the national average (2.8 percent versus 11 percent), the state has the sixth fastest-growing immigrant population and the fourth fastest-growing Hispanic population in the country."

"The Knox County Health Department and the Metropolitan Nashville Health Department's Bridges to Care programs serve large numbers (36 percent and 30 percent, respectively) of Hispanic residents."

"DHS [Department of Human Services] reports rising caseloads of immigrant families (though the Families First caseload is only about one percent Hispanic) and implements strategies specifically to serve this population. As of November 2003, 1,138 front line DHS employees have received Latino Cultural Competency Training through statewide contracts with Conexion Americas. DHS personnel reported using Language Line Services and some interpreter services. The Metro Nashville office displays a large sign in many different languages explaining available interpreter services to clients. Statewide advocacy organizations report regular interactions with service providers, government officials, and program staff."

"The General Assembly and the Governor may wish to consider establishing an Office of Immigrant Affairs to help multiple agencies plan for and serve Tennessee's growing population of residents with limited English proficiency. The North Carolina Governor's Office maintains an office of Hispanic/Latino Affairs to provide information and staff to the Advisory Council on Hispanic and Latino affairs. The office also sponsors events and projects for Spanish-speaking residents and develops and coordinates programs to meet their needs."

Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury April 2004 Report: Seeking a way out Services and challenges affecting Tennessee's poor

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