Support for Immigrant Parents

There have been countless (and often conflicting) news stories in recent weeks about immigration in the United States. In our networks, the discussion–for years–has simply focused on how we can best care for and support these families. What is it like to be an immigrant and a parent? What are the unique fears, challenges, and needs faced by these families?


Please consider sharing our resources with the professionals and parents in your own networks:

We also highly recommend browsing our new Parent Connection Resource Guide for parenting classes and support groups for parents facing immigration and reunification.

What resources do you depend on in your work with immigrant families?

Get Parents Connected This Fall

ParentConnection_SummerFall2016Twice a year, SCAN publishes the Parent Connection Resource Guide (PCRG), a catalog of parenting resources available in the Northern Virginia area. SCAN has just published its newest guide covering August through December of 2016.

Our goal in preparing and distributing the PCRG to child welfare professionals is to spread the word about the plethora of excellent programs and events offered in our community so that we can get parents—especially those most at-risk—connected with the resources they need and deserve. Our hope is that you will refer to this guide when you come across a parent or family who would benefit from some type of parenting help—whether it be a class, support group, or one-time seminar.

We organize the PCRG by type of resource: parenting class, parenting support group, playgroups, and other parenting resources; and then each section is further organized by jurisdiction: Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William.

The PCRG can be accessed online here, or, for the first time, on SCAN’s FREE Parent Resource Center app via your mobile device! (You can download the app here.)

Included in the guide are a couple of SCAN entries we are especially excited to offer this fall:

The ABCs of Parenting
The program covers topics such as child development, praise and empathy, building your child’s self-esteem, family rules, age-appropriate discipline, alternatives to spanking, and family stress management. No eligibility requirements. Registration is required. Class includes a family meal, childcare for children ages 0 to 4, a children’s program with yoga component for children ages 5 and older, weekly raffles and educational materials.

No. of weeks: 8 weeks
Date: Thursdays, October 11 – December 8
Time: 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Location: First Assembly of God Church, 700 W. Braddock Rd, Alexandria, VA 22302
Cost: Free
Contact: Alice Clark at 703-820-9001
Language(s): ENGLISH

Strengthening Families Program (ages 10-14)
SCAN of Northern Virginia partners with ACPS’ Family And Community Engagement (FACE) Office and the Alexandria Department of Community & Human Services, Center for Children and Families to offer a facilitator-led parent education class for parents with children in middle school (ages 10 – 14).

No. of weeks: 7 weeks
Cost: Free
Contact: Alice Clark at 703-820-9001

Cora Kelly Elementary School (with Casa Chirilagua)
Date: Thursdays, September 22 – November 3
Time: 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Location: 3600 Commonwealth Ave, Alexandria, VA 22305
Language(s): SPANISH

FC Hammond Middle School
Date: Tuesdays, October 11 – December 13
Time: 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Location: 4646 Seminary Rd, Alexandria, VA 22304
Language(s): ENGLISH & SPANISH

You can learn more about SCAN’s Parent Education Program on our website here.

We hope you’ll share the PCRG in your community this fall! Know of programs that we should include in the next issue? Please let me know!

– Alice Clark, Public Education Coordinator



SCANStar: Jackie Rodriguez

Jackie Rodriguez is a SCAN renaissance woman. Before she took on the role of backup facilitator for Educational Parent Support Groups, she participated in SCAN’s ABCs of Parenting Classes and Support Groups. Her involvement with SCAN for nearly eight years has made her this week’s SCANStar.

And for those of you who didn’t see last week’s installment, SCANStar will be a regular feature on BuildingBlocks that highlights our dedicated volunteers, program participants, and program facilitators. Get to know the serious and silly things about the people who make SCAN great!

BuildingBlocks: How did you get involved with SCAN, and what is your current role in our programs? 

Jackie: I’ve always been a single parent and have never been married. When my son was five, we went to the library and saw a sign that said “help with parenting and support.” So we went to the first parent support group meeting, and I just kept going. This is my only support because I don’t have family here. They all live in New Mexico or Chicago. Then I started going to ABCs of Parenting. Around four years ago, I got started with facilitation for support groups as needed.

What do you like about volunteering with SCAN?

It helps me know that I’m not alone. I know there are other parents out there struggling with raising their kids, and that all of us can share and give advice. We all share ideas and try to work out something that can fit for our kids. Knowing that I’m not alone—that’s the main thing.

What do you enjoy most about facilitating Educational Parent Support Groups?

I enjoy hearing what other people have to say, learning from them, and learning what they’re going through. I like getting feedback about to how make group better. So many parents need support and they just don’t get it. They always make excuses. I like listening to other parents, and that makes me feel better.

Describe your favorite SCAN memory.

It’s hard to say because they’re all pretty intense. I remember times when we’ve had workshops to bring in guest speakers. During the last workshop we had we brought in pizza, all the kids and parents ate, and we shared ideas.

What do you think is the most important skill a parent can have?

Listening. I know when I go to these support groups that listening is important. Especially with children, I’ve learned the hard way that I need to listen because I always interrupt. The number one skill is listening, not criticizing your children, and not telling them what to do. Give them a choice. That’s always been my biggest problem. I have so much going on in my head that I miss what my son is saying. Just stop, listen, and relax.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? What do you do now?

Me and my sister always played dress up. We always wanted to have kids. Now I work for personnel and human resources at the Department of Agriculture with food and nutrition. I used to work for WIC at the federal level for nine years.  

What is your favorite movie from childhood?

Grease (film)
Image via Wikipedia

Grease.  The original, with Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta, came out when I was in junior high/middle school.  I still love the movie.  I could watch it over and over. My son loves it, too.

If you were given a free flight anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I’d love to go to Cancun or something like that, or the Caribbean or Hawaii because I love beaches. I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii because I don’t need to get my passport renewed. Anywhere with beaches and islands makes me happy.

What is something most people wouldn’t know by looking at you?

One is that I’m Hispanic. Whenever people talk to me they think I’m not Spanish because I don’t have a dark complexion. My ancestors are from Spain.