Children with special health care needs; Hispanic; access; disparities


Public Health


Objectives: Utilizing a diffusion of innovation (DOI) framework, the study seeks to increase access to information for Hispanic families of children with special health care needs (SHCN) by increasing their use of Family-to-family Centers (F2Fs) in their states. Methods: Focus groups were implemented of both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking Hispanic families in two states with a confirming Delphi procedure exploring factors within DOI framework related to using F2Fs and the nature of current family communication networks. Results: Families seeking information at key change points turn to formal sources, although Spanish-speaking families, noted that due to language barriers, they also turned to family and friends. Families prefer getting information in one-on-one encounters rather than via technologies. F2Fs being staffed by parents of children with SHCN is a relative advantage over other sources of information and race or ethnicity of the staff was not an essential feature in using F2Fs, although services in Spanish was. Findings indicated that cultural values might impede turning outside the family for support and that concerns about federally funded programs serving all families or being suddenly cut impacted families views of using F2Fs. Conclusions: Increasing the use of F2Fs by Hispanic families will entail increasing awareness and acceptance of the centers by their social networks and by social marketing efforts that focus on factors identified. In addition, at the policy level, there needs to be a recognition of the strong preference for person-to-person support rather than technological approaches, which has fiscal implications.

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