Providing Social Services in a New Immigrant Settlement City: A Qualitative Inquiry

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Abstract

Nationally, a new trend in migration has included the settlement of Latina/o immigrants in cities without an established community of Latinas/os. Social services become even more salient in this context in the absence of informal social networks of support. This study, guided by social ecological theory, advances our limited understanding of social services in new immigrant settlement destinations by elucidating contextual and structural factors endemic to the social service delivery process in these new immigrant destinations. Twenty-nine social service providers who work with Latina/o immigrants in Baltimore were interviewed and Consensual Qualitative Research (CQR; Hill, Thompson, & Nutt Williams, 1997) methods were used to analyze data through consensus and the use of multiple data “auditors.” Findings extend our understanding of the context of social services in a new immigrant settlement city by identifying qualitative factors related to the new immigrant settlement, organization and work, community, and client level that impact access and quality of services. A theoretically driven conceptual framework adapted from the Structural Environmental conceptual framework (Organista, 2007) is also proposed to explain the transactional interconnectedness among structural-, environmental-, and client-level factors in the social service delivery process.

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