New resource for Hispanic families: Penfield Children's Center hires bilingual outreach specialist

MILWAUKEE -- There is a new resource for Hispanic families across the Milwaukee area with young children. Penfield Children's Center is expanding its services and programs to support families in 10 counties in southeastern Wisconsin.

The number of Hispanic families at Penfield Children's Center has nearly doubled in the last five years. Well over 40 percent of kids and parents speak Spanish. Many of the kids have developmental delays or disabilities.

"There is a real opportunity for us to provide more specialized care, both with the families we are currently serving, but also in the population we haven`t yet reached," said Jason Parry, VP of Development and Communication at Penfield Children's Center.

Through the Kohl's Building Blocks Program, the center hired a bilingual outreach specialist who can connect with Spanish speaking families across southeastern Wisconsin. She isn't focused as much on drawing new families to Penfield, as she is on supporting families who don't speak English to find the services they need, even if their kids don't attend Penfield.

"I really want to work with parents and schools, and really see what it is we can provide for them, so that they feel more comfortable navigating the needs of a child with special needs or children in general," said Bilingual Outreach Specialist, Cristina Moreno.

Information in Spanish, is one of the biggest things Penfield leaders have found is lacking in the community.

"Sometimes it's there, and people just don`t know how to access it," said Moreno.

Moreno will host workshops on speech and language development, challenging behavior or atypical child development.

"We're able to really invest in those families, and provide services both inside the center here as well as at different community events, schools, daycares, at summer camps," said Parry.

Here is a list of counties Moreno serves: